November 16, 1945: The UNESCO Constitution is signed, creating the United Nations body for Education, and Scientific and Cultural collaboration. The United Nations was founded June 26, 1945 and its charter was ratified on October 24. The UN’s goals are to promote economic development and social progress while maintaining human rights. International law and planetary security lead to the ultimate goal – world peace. The League of Nations was founded after World War I and was replaced by the UN after World War II. To date, peace remains elusive.
UNESCO is the specialized agency of the UN dealing with education. It is the body’s underlying principle “that education is the key to social and economic development.” Their mission is twofold: 1. to provide international leadership towards educational opportunities for all; and 2. to provide expertise to elevate national education programs. They both facilitate increasing educational opportunities worldwide and collect data to measure successes and failures. Their goal is to achieve universal quality education for all.
UNESCO has six goals or standards to be reached by 2015. First is to improve early childhood care and education. Next is to assure all children receive primary education with special considerations for girls and children of minority ethnicities. They want all young people and adults to be given access to programs teaching life skills. Their fourth goal is to reach a 50% literacy rate for women and to assure continuing education for all adults. They would like to see gender equality in education. Lastly, they wish to improve every aspect of the quality of education all around the world.
Illiteracy issues hinder the entire educational process. According to the most recent data, there are ≈ 774 million illiterate adults in the world. This represents about 13% of the global adult population. About 64% or 495 million of those unable to read are women. This means ≈ 17% of adult women are illiterate, cut off from so many chances for improvement of their life circumstances. UNESCO is based in Paris, France. They have 193 Member States and six Associate Members. The current director is from Bulgaria, Irina Gueorguieva Bokova.
“As of today, we do not need expert reports by the authoritative analytical institutions to realize that the reasons for such a situation in our community lie in global inequality, poverty and illiteracy.” – Nursultan Nazarbayev
“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.” – Maya Angelou
“Hatred, intolerance, poor hygienic conditions and violence all have roots in illiteracy, so we’re trying to do something to help the poor and the needy.” – Abdul Qadeer Khan
“Think about it: Every educated person is not rich, but almost every educated person has a job and a way out of poverty. So education is a fundamental solution to poverty.” – Kathleen Blanco
This article first appeared at examiner.com in 2009. Editor’s update: The principal organs of the United Nations are the UN General Assembly; UN Secretariat; International Court of Justice based in The Hague, the Netherlands; UN Security Council; UN Economic and Social Council; and the UN Trusteeship Council which became inactive in 1994 when the last trust territory was given freedom. There are seventeen specialized agencies of the UN of which UNESCO is one. The Food and Agriculture Organization with headquarters in Rome and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group both headquartered in Washington, D.C. were the first three formed. UNESCO was the fourth formed and is headquartered in Paris. The last to be formed is the International Fund for Agricultural Development which came into being in 1977. It is also headquartered in Rome. Montreal is headquarters for one agency as is London. Vienna has two, Rome has three and Geneva has five while Bern, Switzerland is also headquarters for the final one.
Also on this day: The Fugitive? – In 1966, Dr. Sam Sheppard was finally acquitted of his wife’s 1954 murder.
Wagons, Ho – In 1821, the first Santa Fe trail crossing was completed.
Sentenced – In 1849, Fyodor Dostoevsky was sentenced to death.