Unesco – Concept, history, functions and objectives

We explain what Unesco is, the history and different functions of this organization. Also, what are your goals and CEOs.

Unesco promotes, disseminates and defends the scientific and cultural knowledge of humanity.

What is Unesco?

It is known as Unesco to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, for its acronym in English (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization). As its name indicates, it is an institution attached to the UN and specialized in the promotion, dissemination and defense of scientific and cultural knowledge of humanity.

The UNESCO is perhaps one of the best known international cooperation organizations in the field of culture, education and scientific development, since has headquarters and operations throughout the planet, where he is associated with his clearly pacifist vocation and respect for the cultural heritage of the human race, as well as his commitment to reducing social inequality in its various facets.

Although it was founded with just 20 countries as support, at present Unesco has 195 member countries and 8 associated states, which provide funds to the institution to continue with its wide range of plans.

This does not mean that the institution has not received strong criticism over time, some due to its obstruction of certain economic or cultural policies of hegemonic world powers, and others, paradoxically, for supporting legal decisions contrary to commercial and commercial freedom. expression of the peoples.

In fact, The US has twice withdrawn from UNESCO, in protest of its decisions: one in 1985 due to administrative differences, together with the United Kingdom and Singapore (the three countries rejoined later, but caused serious financial damage to the institution) and another recently in 2017, in protest at the accession as a member country of Palestine , an event interpreted as an “anti-Israeli” bias by the US and Israeli presidencies.

Unesco history

Unesco was founded in 1945 and had its main headquarters in Paris VII in 1958.

The UNESCO was founded in 1945, at the time of the Second World War, together with other international organizations and cooperation institutions to ensure that war and humanitarian disasters of the magnitude of said conflict do not occur again.

Its constitution was ratified by more than 20 countries and in 1958 it acquired its headquarters in Paris VII. By then, the replenishment of war-torn international relations allowed more and more countries to join the organization.

The first time a country leaves UNESCO will be in 1957, when Apartheid South Africa reproaches it for its “interference with its racial affairs”, since the whole world protested the brutal segregation of the black population in this nation. Subsequently, under the presidency of Nelson Mandela, South Africa would rejoin UNESCO.

One of UNESCO’s first major international events took place in 1960, when the organization undertook the defense of the Egyptian temples of Abu Simbel and 21 other irreplaceable archaeological monuments, which were threatened by the construction of the Aswan Dam on the lower Nile. .

Unesco functions

Unesco is an aid to scientific, cultural and social initiatives.

Unesco fulfills the functions of cultural ambassador and defender of the heritage of humanity in various aspects, operating as a world forum for discussion and dissemination, a kind of counterweight to the States or to help scientific, cultural and social initiatives that are considered of value not only locally, but for the whole of humanity.

In this sense, it is famous for its heritage management, which gives sites of archaeological, historical, ecological or cultural interest an internationally renowned status, so that they are preserved and protected for future generations. The same goes for traditions, celebrations and other forms of heritage.

At the same time, Unesco promotes peace and social equality, with literacy campaigns, celebration of diversity and difference, recognition of women and community training at various levels.

Unesco objectives

Unesco’s objectives can be summarized as:

  • Promote peace dialogue and exchange between cultures, preserving the legacy of our species for future generations.
  • Promote social equality and opportunities through literacy, education and the growth of human potential, especially in vulnerable or marginal regions.
  • Preserve the heritage of humanity in its various aspects: ecological, historical, cultural, architectural, etc.
  • Promote dialogue and cultural exchange in the face of the challenges of the new millennium, in favor of the conscious and proper use of new technologies and guaranteeing human rights in social, scientific and cultural matters.

Unesco Directors General

The list of directors of this international institution includes the names of:

  • Julian Huxley (United Kingdom), from 1946 to 1947.
  • Jaime Torres Bodet (Mexico), from 1948 to 1952.
  • Luther T. Evans (United States), from 1953 to 1958.
  • Vittorino Veronese (Italy), from 1958 to 1961.
  • René Maheu (France), from 1961 to 1974.
  • Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow (Senegal), from 1974 to 1987.
  • Federico Mayor Zaragoza (Spain), from 1987 to 1999.
  • Koichirö Matsuura (Japan), from 1999 to 2009.
  • Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), from 2009 to 2017.
  • Audrey Azoulay (France), 2017 (ongoing).