Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

Read the new highlight from the Americans for UNESCO website on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

The National Commission is a unique institution, created by Congress so that sixty non-governmental organizations, chosen by the Commission itself, would each appoint a member. Thus 60 percent of the body are not named by the government, but by civil society.

This was once a star studded body, with representatives not only of educational, scientific and cultural organizations, but also members named by the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations, the national Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. Meetings were attended by many hundreds of organizations when the National Commission was headed by Milton Eisenhower, and included luminaries such as Pulitzer Prise winning poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish and soon to be Senator William Benton.

Today's National Commission is, I fear, only a pale reflection of that early body. Still, it plays an important role, and may with time regain its strength and status!

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