13 November 2006
Robert L. Peters, Icograda Past President 2003-2005
Robert L. Peters, Icograda Past President 2003-2005

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was born on 16 November 1945. This specialized UN agency states its ambitious goal as follows: to build peace in the minds of men. UNESCO works to create the conditions for true dialogue, based upon respect for commonly shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture. The world urgently requires global visions of sustainable development based upon observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which lie at the heart of UNESCO's mission and activities.

UNESCO works as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse that disseminates and shares information and knowledge while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. UNESCO's thematic areas include education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, communication and information, and a variety of special focus areas.

UNESCO promotes international co-operation among its 190 Member States and six Associate Members in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. UNESCO functions thanks to the synergy between diverse community actors that together form an international community. These communities include governments, National Commissions, Parliamentarians, NGOs and Associations. Among them we also find the media, schools, cultural and scientific institutions, private sector partners and the United Nations family of institutions. UNESCO has 588 NGOs with 'official relations' around the world. More information about UNESCO is available online.

From 16-19 May 2004, the World Forum on Human Rights will take place in French city of Nantes. UNESCO: "In today's world of growing inequalities, intolerance and violence, human rights, more than ever, need promotion and protection. While globalization has created unprecedented wealth and well being, it has been accompanied by increasing poverty, inequality and exclusion for many countries, groups and individuals alike. Armed conflicts and terrorism are inflicting countless losses of lives and throwing civilians on the road to despair and suffering. Human dignity, which is acknowledged as the fundamental universal value, is under threat in many of our societies. In response, the national and international systems of human rights protection require urgent strengthening... This cannot be ensured by isolated efforts. It is a common venture of the world community as a whole. This Forum will bring together on an equal footing all categories of actors in the field of human rights. This will allow an extensive exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences on how to create global alliances to address today's most pressing challenges, including terrorism, discrimination and poverty, the three main themes of the Forum." For more information, visit their website

Icograda has been affiliated with UNESCO for many years. This report is provided in the hope that Icograda's Member associations and their constituents will avail themselves of the information and resources provided by UNESCO - in order to achieve the shared goal of furthering understanding among people everywhere. The latest UNESCO Resolution of the NGO's International Conference held 17-19 December 2003 in Paris is available to members of Icograda Member Associations in the 'Members Only' (you must log in). Access the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (adopted on 10 December 1948 by the United Nations).