UNESCO was born in the wake of the two world wars that were to define a single generation. Nation states shared the firm conviction that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace, it was felt, must be forged on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.
UNESCO strives to build networks among nations by:
- Mobilizing for education: so that every child, regardless of gender, should have access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.
- Building intercultural understanding: working to protect heritage and generate support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value.
- Pursuing scientific cooperation: strengthening ties between nations and societies through such projects as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements.
- Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.
UNESCO’s message has never been more compelling. It is critical that we create holistic policies capable of addressing the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development. This kind of thinking reaffirms the founding principles of the Organization and enhances its role:
- In a globalized world with interconnected societies, intercultural dialogue is vital if we are to live together even as we acknowledge our diversity.
- In an uncertain world, the future of nations depends not only on their economic capital or natural resources, but also on their collective ability to understand and anticipate changes in the environment — through education, scientific research and the sharing of knowledge.
- In an unstable world, the educational, scientific and cultural fabric of societies helps guarantee long-term resilience and stability.
- In a connected world, with the emergence of the creative economy and knowledge societies, along with the emergence of the internet, the full participation of everyone in a changing global public space is a prerequisite for peace and development.
UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the conditions for peace and sustainable development must be built.
UNESCO creates avenues for collaboration and growth along five key areas:
Communication and Information
Social and Human Sciences