United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, and was established in 1945. The main goals of the organization are to ensure lasting stability and peace within realms of humanity, culture, and education through unification of many nations. [1] The main functions of UNESCO are to ensure that every child has access to a proper education, promoting cultural acceptance between nations while protecting historical sites, improving technology to aid in the distribution of resources and energy, and secure the safety of individual expression and basic human rights. The organization continues to develop new and existing programs and policies to ensure the advancement of social, economic, and environmental aspects of human life. [2] These operations are possible through the use of intercultural communication, a common understanding of environmental conditions and their impact of humanity through research and education, and promoting the development of fundamental rights.

UNESCO's mission

In order to ensure that every person has access to an education, UNESCO must serve as a leader to communities and aid in strengthening the infrastructure needed for a proper school system. This includes pre-school through higher education, while putting emphasis on equality for all students as well as access to quality educational institutions. [3] UNESCO also promotes the practice of free speech by using print and visual media to enhance the message of peace and allow people to have expressive freedom. [4] The preservation and acknowledgement of different cultures is another important part of the organization’s work. UNESCO states that a strong and ethical culture is the foundation for a prosperous society. This is accomplished through mutual respect and understanding, as well as maintaining relationships between nations and governments, and creating policies and laws agreed upon by all. [5] While maintain good communication in the international community, UNESCO also protects culture by ensuring the preservation of ancient archeological sites and artifacts, as well as other pieces of tangible culture. These movements toward a universal peace are only attainable through education, and the exchange of knowledge. A better-educated community is prosperous due to developed communication and skills, that aid in creating strong societies and economies. UNESCO strives to make all knowledge and valuable information accessible universally in order to ensure the education of every person, and the spread of cultural awareness and acceptance. [6] All of this progress towards peaceful coexisting cultures is crucial to another goal of UNESCO, which is to promote peace and the moral treatment of others within common daily life. A shared understanding and respect among people from different cultures creates stronger cohesion, and benefits the common good by eliminating things such as prejudice and violence. [7] As well as preserving and protecting aspects of human life, the organization also makes strides to protect the oceans and environment. While enhancing education, UNESCO spreads awareness of the critical state of the Earth’s ecosystems, and encourages new developments and technologies be created to put more sustainable methods into practice. [8] Scientific advancement is crucial to creating a more economically, environmentally, and psychologically stable global population. UNESCO maintains relationships between nations to aid in the continual development of science and create policies to protect the common good. As with many aspects of UNESCO’s work, education is vital for creating a more science literate public, which can then find solutions to issues like loss of biodiversity and the preservation of fresh water. [9]


Governing bodies

There are two governing bodies of UNESCO and they are the General Conference and the Executive Board. The General Conference meets every two years and is composed of representatives of UNESCO member states, as well as non-member states, and government and non-government organizations. [10] This body is responsible for creating the policies and business operations, as well as budgeting the organization. The Executive Board also meets twice a year and is comprised of fifty-eight members who are elected by the General Conference. The responsibility of the Executive Board is to oversee all operations of UNESCO and to ensure that all activity adheres to the Constitution of the [United Nations]. [11]

There is also the executive branch of UNESCO, called the Secretariat. Within the Secretariat is the Director-General, along with elected staff that represents over 150 countries. [12] Smaller groups within the Secretariat include those focused on certain programs such as, education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Various other offices within this branch of UNESCO are the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs, the Ethics Office, and the Secretariat of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize. [13]


History

UNESCO is part of the international organization the United Nations. The creation of the United Nations in 1945 followed the destructive consequences of World War II. UNESCO was officially established after a United Nations conference in London, in November 1945. [14] The first General Conference of UNESCO was held the following year in Paris, which is now the headquarters, and included the participation of thirty governments. One vital element that all member states of UNESCO agreed upon was that education and culture must be protected and preserved for future generations. The constitution of the organization states that the main goals are to promote peace by enhancing education and cultural knowledge, as well as to teach respect for the law and human rights, which protects the interest of every person despite their characteristics. [15]

Some important accomplishments made by UNESCO include taking measures to create free primary education internationally, the relocation of ancient monuments and temples in Egypt to avoid destruction by the Nile River, and later the relocation of other valuables around the world to ensure their preservation. The establishment of the World Heritage committee in 1976 started the practice of legally protecting historic sites throughout the world. [16] UNESCO has also created a program to protect written, audio, and visual documents and artifacts of the past.



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