Thursday, June 10, 2010

Regional Meeting of the National Commissions

Delegates at the 2008 Regional Consultation

The UK National Commission for UNESCO hosted the UNESCO Director-General’s Regional Consultation with National Commissions for UNESCO of Europe and North America on the Preparation of the Draft Programme and Budget for 2012-2013 (36C/5) from 5-8 June 2010, in London.


Meeting of the U.S. NatCom

The long-awaited annual meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO (U.S. NatCom) took place May 25-27 in downtown Washington, D.C. and, reportedly turned out much quite successful in spite of an unusually tight schedule. It was difficult to know the exact number of Commissioners in attendance but 40-50 is a reasonable estimate plus various invited guests and the not too numerous "public" of whom six were members of the AU Board.

Though not described as having overall themes, the meeting featured science, women and youth in the presence of Dr. Gretchen Kalonji, the new UNESCO ADG/SC due to assume her duties July 1st. An American young woman, former participant in the Young Professional Program, now a staff member in the Science Sector described her entry into the UNESCO world with enthusiasm. Another young woman was equally enthusiastic about her participation in the Youth Forum (held during last year's General Conference). Finally, the United States contribution to various aspects of UNESCO's work in the field of water was eloquently described by the President and Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Dr. Susan Avery, and two US scientists dealing with the International Hydrological Program.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Robert Kahn Receives the ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award 2010

Bob Kahn is President and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), and is a supporter of both UNESCO and Americans for UNESCO. His wife, Patrice Lyons is a member of the Board of Directors of AU.

The award states:
Mr Robert Kahn played a key pioneering role in the development of the Internet. He laid the foundations of the TCP/IP protocol architecture, which is a standard operating feature of the Internet. CNRI is a non-profit organization that focuses on the strategic development of network-based information technologies and Kahn has continued to nurture the evolution of the Internet, steering the development of new standards.
Congratulations Bob!

UNESCO: 50 years of ocean monitoring

June 4: World Environment Day 2010

The theme of WED 2010 is “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.”

Pittsburgh hwas selected as the North American host city by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to join World Environment Day 2010. More...

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the World Environment Day 2010.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program

31 May – 4 June 2010
UNESCO Headquarters, Fontenoy Building, Room XII

The 22nd session of the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme (MAB-ICC) is being held from 31 May to 4 June 2010 at UNESCO Headquarters. The MAB-ICC is reviewing progress made in the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan adopted at its 20th session and is discussing various matters concerning the future of MAB; important decisions, on new sites to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves as well as on MAB Young Scientists Awards and the Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management will be made by the Council.

Towards inclusive knowledge societies: Review of UNESCO's action in implementing WSIS outcomes

This report reviews UNESCO’s work in implementing its responsibilities deriving from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) since 2005. It highlights some of what has been achieved to date and reflects upon the challenges that have arisen during the period.

The report looks in turn at UNESCO’s three main roles in WSIS implementation:
  • as a coordinator/lead facilitator, with ITU, UNDP and UNCTAD, of the overall implementation process, including UNGIS and the WSIS Forum;
  • as a facilitator of six Action Lines to facilitate the implementation of the WSIS outcomes in specific areas of work; and
  • as an implementer of programmes and initiatives that seek to build inclusive Knowledge Societies and thereby contribute to the achievement of WSIS goals.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Brief Interview with Gretchen Kalonji in Science magazine

Last month, materials scientist Gretchen Kalonji of the University of California, Santa Cruz, was picked to head the Natural Sciences Sector of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Kalonji has taught in France, Germany, China, and Japan and has worked on international strategy development for the University of California. Her term starts in July.

Q: How did you become fluent in two African languages, Swahili and Lingala?

From the ages of 7 to 23, I was outside the United States. Both my parents were journalists, and we lived in India, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Kenya. So I come to the international stuff kind of naturally. ... I lived in Kenya for 6 years starting as a teenager, and my ex- and late husband was Congolese, which explains the Lingala.

Q: What ideas do you have for the job?

It's a little bit premature to say, but I will ... [try to] leverage other strengths within UNESCO. One of their jewels is the network of World Heritage sites, [which could be] utilized to a greater degree by having teams of faculty and students work together on projects sited there.

Q: Where is there room for improvement?

Our greatest source of unleashed, insufficiently tapped capacity is the creativity of our youth around the world. ... Most of their time in educational institutions is spent sitting and learning facts. ... Having the students engage more directly in science and engineering research projects that are linked to the common needs in our society ... could have an enormous impact.