UNESCO's First 45 Years

Article excerpt

Any chronicle of the achievements and events that have marked the four and a half decades of existence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is bound to be selective. it is also bound to highlight the three major aspects of UNESCO's activities: their range in space and time, since they extend to all the continents and most of them are long-term; their diversity of type and content; and the spirit of perseverance which inspires them in pursuit of the common goal of helping to bring humankind together and to promote international understanding. These qualities characterize both the most spectacular of UNESCO's activities, such as its international campaigns for the preservation of great monuments, and those-far more numerous-that may long go unnoticed before their results finally take tangible form.

Raising awareness and stimulating action; formulating experimental models and pilot projects; providing technical assistance, consultation with specialists; acting as a source of documentation and information; training-a fundamental activity whose effects multiply over the years; standard-setting activities; drawing up intellectual guidelines for action-this is the substance of UNESCO's work. By these means UNESCO accomplishes its mission of breaking down geographical barriers to the spread of knowledge and encouraging dialogue between cultures. In this way UNESCO seeks to carry out the mandate assigned to it by its Constitution, of "advancing, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace". This is a long-term effort which it is difficult to present in calendar form. …