UNESCO Courier

Articles from May-June

A 21-Point Programme for a Global Strategy in Education
A 21-point programme for a global strategy in education In 1971, Unesco set up an International Commission on the Development of Education to carry out an unparalleled world-wide inquiry. The Commission's purpose was to devise a global approach to...
African Childhood
African childhood KOUROUSSA in Guinea, West Africa, my birthplace and the traditional home of my forebears, is a typical Malinke village; the Djeliba River which flows past it dominates the life of its mainly agricultural population. Kouroussa is...
All about Alice
All about Alice LEWIS Carroll, who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1872), was, in private life, a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He produced other...
An Illiterate in Paris
An illiterate in Paris In countries where free and compulsory education has been applied for generations, Illiteracy is no national problem. Yet in all countries, even the most advanced, a small residue remains of adults who, for one reason or another,...
Apartheid: The Shameful Record
Apartheid: the shameful record THE history of apartheid is the record of a racism conceived and used by small white minorities in South Africa in order to dominate a large black majority, deprive this majority of its land, and maximize the exploitation...
A Third World View of Human Rights
A Third World view of human rights TO a great extent, the Third World has not played a creative part in the formulation and implementation of human rights. Though human rights embody many tenets found in all the world's cultures, the theoretical...
Disabled Characters in Search of an Author
Disabled characters in search of an author IT is important for handicapped children to meet themselves in children's books, to see pictures and read about children like themselves, their lives, problems, feelings, circumstances. And it is important...
Fifty Years of Literary Life
Fifty years of literary life WHEN the Chines people were liberated and the People's Republic of China was founded, I wanted to use my pen, which had been used to writing about darkness and misery, to write about new people and new deeds, to celebrate...
Food for a Hungry World
Food for a hungry world FOR years, the vast problem of world hunger has been the focus of lengthy debate in various organizations at the governmental, non-governmental and international levels. In a noteworthy study entitled Agriculture: Toward...
Ishi - the Last of the Yana Indians
Ishi-- the last of the Yana Indians ONE night in the summer of 1911, a butcher in a small town in California was woken up by the furious barking of his dogs. He went outside and found near his house a "wild man' leaning against a wall, quite clearly...
Lenin and the Physical Sciences
Lenin and the physical sciences ALL of Lenin's work--as a politician, statesman and public figure--is inseparable from science. The turn of the century, as we know, was marked by a series of discoveries which were to lead to a complete revolution...
Leonardo Da Vinci, or the Glory of Painting
Leonardo da Vinci, or the glory of painting "LIMBS which are not in exercise must be drawn without showing the play of muscles. And if you do otherwise, you will have imitated a sack of nuts rather than a human figure.' This is one of the notes...
Letter from Nagasaki
Letter from Nagasaki DIRECTLY after the bomb exploded, the reaction of those who could still move was either to remain where they had been at the time of the explosion or to flee immediately. Those who stayed where they were--either to help injured...
Man, the First Walkie-Talkie
Man, the first walkie-talkie SCIENTISTS have long speculated about the origins of speech, and a great many theories have been advanced. One of the earliest, already current in Ancient Greece, held that the first words were onomatopoeias--imitations...
My First Steps in Space
My first steps in space ONLY the unforgettable moments at the take-off and the recollection of the long months of flight training forced me to believe in the reality of the scene that unfolded before my eyes as I viewed the spaceship while I floated...
My Latest Work - a Wall
My latest work--a wall IN 1955 Unesco asked me to take part in the decoration of its new headquarters buildings, then under construction in the Place de Fontenoy, Paris. Two perpendicular walls--one fifteen metres long, the other seven and a half...
Night Thoughts, November 1926
Night thoughts, November 1926 READERS who claim me for their favourite writer often say that I express the truth. This is excessive praise induced, no doubt, by their very partiality. It is true that I do not seek to deceive, but neither do I try...
Nuclear Weapons and World Sanity
Nuclear weapons and world sanity DURING the Second World War there were some massive bombing raids on German cities. In one such raid, on one night, one thousand aeroplanes each carrying four tremendous one-ton blockbusters destroyed much of the...
On Translation
On translation EACH text is unique, yet at the same time it is the translation of another text. No text is entirely original, because language itself is essentially a translation. In the first place, it translates from the non-verbal world. Then,...
Open Letter from a Capilano Indian: 'I Was Born 1,000 Years Ago.'
Open letter from a Capilano Indian: "I was born 1,000 years ago' My very good dear friends, I was born a thousand years ago, born in a culture of bows and arrows. But within the span of half a lifetime I was flung across the ages to the...
Painted Manuscripts of Pre-Columbian America
Painted manuscripts of pre-Columbian America THE Mexican, Maya and Peruvian Indians discovered and cultivated different "modes' of transmitting their culture and ethics. Some of them still amaze us with their plastic beauty and their esoteric ingenuity,...
Pictures in Our Heads
Pictures in our heads THERE are very few, if any, among us who have not succumbed to the temptation to stereotype nations. One might almost describe the tendency as inevitable, or at least very nearly so. But if we are asked how it originates, we...
Portrait of a Man
Portrait of a man WITH a wordly wisdom unusual in a poet but characteristic of the Tagores, Rabindranath set out in a practical way to improve the lot of the poor peasants of his estates. But his own gain from this intimate contact with the fundamental...
Racism Today: 'Us' and 'Them'
Racism today: "Us' and "Them' AFTER twenty years of observation, reflection, research and studies "in the field', I am convinced that racism is a rotten plank. I am not speaking only of its moral aspect, but of its very logic. Man's present biological...
Science, Technology and Man: Nobel Prizewinners' Round Table
Science, technology and man Nobel Prize-Winners' Round Table Seated at a "Round Table' set up under the immense shell of reinforced concrete housing Unesco's Conference Hall, eight world-famous scientists, five of them Nobel Prize winners, took...
Self-Portrait of a Woman Writer
Self-portrait of a woman writer I am a Chinese writer, and for the first sixty years of my life I lived, worked and wrote in the wake of the Chinese people, by whose difficulties I have been guided and inspired. In this way I came to know the world...
'The Action of a Man Who Snatches Something from death.'(International Campaign for the Preservation of the Monuments of Nubia Speech) (Transcript)
"The action of a man who snatches something from death' ON 8 March 1960, for the first time, all nations, though many of them even now are engaged in covert or open conflict, have been summoned to save by a united effort the fruits of a civilization...
The Afro-Brazilian Experiment
The Afro-Brazilian experiment BRAZIL'S experience can be useful to new nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere for, after four centuries of pre-national and national development and more than a century of independence, Brazil is now emerging as a civilization...
The Angry Young Men of Oceania
The angry young men of Oceania IN our various groping ways we are all in search of that haven, that Hawaiki (mythical homeland of the Maori people) where our hearts will find meaning. Our dead are woven into our souls like the hypnotic music of...
The Blacks in Latin America
The blacks in Latin America THE apparent loss of feeling for their original plastic arts among displaced Africans transported to the Americas can be explained by the fact that sculpture, carving and decorative painting required free time, which the...
The Building Blocks of Culture
The building blocks of culture A people's cultural identity is related to three major factors--historical, linguistic and psychological (the last of which may include the people's specific forms of religious observance). These factors vary in importance...
The Candle of Learning
The candle of learning THE question which I wish to lead up to is, are we in the developing world today firmly on the road to a renaissance in the sciences, just as the West was in the twelfth century at the time of Michael the Scot? For this renaissance...
The Chronicle of Michoacan
The Chronicle of Michoacan THE great stories of history tell us about beginnings: the creation of the earth, its first inhabitants, and the coming of the gods and of the beings they created. The Chronicle of Michoacan is one of the few texts--the...
The Forbidden Dialogue
The forbidden dialogue EVEN the proponents of apartheid cannot deny that the blacks suffer untold hardships as a price for the maintenance of the policy of apartheid. What is not always noted is that, though economically exploitative as a ruling...
The Image and the Word
The image and the word FEW persons appear to have given much thought to the fact that the image owes its success to the entry into history's arena of large masses of humanity, including their new literates and total illiterates. The illiterate...
The Land-Locked Island of Paraguay
The land-locked island of Paraguay ONE cannot hope to understand Paraguay without taking into account its linguistic problem. For four hundred years now, two languages have coexisted in the country: Spanish and Guarani-- the language of the conquerors...
The Non-Aligned Countries Pool Their News
The non-aligned countries pool their news NEWS exchange, the basis of relations among news agencies, is more important today than ever before. In recent years, news exchange has become accepted practice for most news agencies in the non-aligned...
The Roots of a Growing World Crisis
The roots of a growing world crisis WE are now undergoing a period of profound and rapid, though uneven, and not infrequently crisis-ridden, change. This change is largely connected with the ever-increasing power available to man through the development...
The Shocking Slaughter of Africa's Wildlife
The shocking slaughter of Africa's wild life THE wild life of eastern Africa is the wonder and envy of the rest of the world. Unique in abundance and variety, it has been gravely diminished in the past and is seriously threatened in the immediate...
The Sting in the Fairy Tale
The sting in the fairy tale AT one time or another,' says Bruno Bettelheim, "every child dreams of being a prince or a princess.' Yet what child of the tropical plains or plateaux of Latin America would ever have dreamed of such a thing if these...
The Truth Behind the Veil of Facts
The truth behind the veil of facts FOR centuries the sidereal facts of this world were set clear before the eyes of humans; yet what those facts meant, what they presented to man, what they made evident to him, was by no means a reality, but quite...
The Writer between Two Worlds
The writer between two worlds THE Third World intellectual must live with a terrible fact: over 80 per cent of people in the Third World can neither read nor write. No magic wand can be waved to change their plight; it will be a long, hard struggle...
The Yestermorrow of the Book
The yestermorrow of the book WHEN Gutenberg transformed the European manuscript into a new uniform and repeatable package, he ended the regime of oral scholastic philosophy and provided the means of retrieving the world of pagan authors. At the...
Today's Crisis in Anthropology
Today's crisis in anthropology THE important place social anthropology holds in contemporary thinking may seem paradoxical to many people. It is a science very much in vogue: witness not only the fashion for films and books about travel, but also...
Tongues That Span the Centuries
Tongues that span the centuries THE Bambara tradition of the Komo (one of the great initiation schools of the Mande group of peoples of Mali) teaches that the Word, Kuma, is a fundamental force emanating from the Supreme Being himself--Maa Ngala,...
Where Gods and Men Have Mingled
Where gods and men have mingled THE culture of Brazil was formed in the struggle against racism and was born of the mingling of whites, blacks and Amerindians. The black element in Brazilian society is inextricably mingled with the white, and Africa...
Will Deserts Drink Icebergs?
Will deserts drink icebergs? EVERY attempt has to be made to find further supplies of fresh water. There are two viable methods of doing this, and two only: the desalination of sea water, and the tapping of the only existing reserves of fresh water--the...
Women of the Mediterranean: Tradition and Change
Women of the Mediterranean: tradition and change "It is up to us to dismantle the mechanisms of invisibility, all those processes which impoverish our relationship with the world, impose silence on the majority of women, and bring to the fore a few...