Study Abroad Newsletter
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Author: Stephanie Toof
Posted: 15-Apr-08

As an agency of the United Nations, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has a goal to build peace - not necessarily in a physical sense, but on a psychological level. 

Founded in 1945, UNESCO strives to set universal standards for ethical issues by promoting co-operation between international Member and Associate States.  According to its website, UNESCO is currently working on its Millennium Development Goals which include:

  • Halving the proportion of those living in extreme poverty in developing countries by 2015.
  • Achieving universal primary education in all countries by 2015
  • Eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2015
  • Helping countries implement a national strategy for sustainable development by 2015
  • Reversing current trends in the loss of environmental resources by 2015

Based in Paris, UNESCO addresses 5 main fields of action including education, social and human sciences, communication and information, culture, and natural sciences.  In 1993, as a conservation effort, UNESCO founded the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC).  The OWHC is an organization that assists member cities to improve and adapt their management methods in order to conserve the history and culture of a particularly historic city.  The 233 member cities range from Lima to Budapest to Zanzibar and are located all over the world.

The Organization of World Heritage Cities, like UNESCO, addresses 5 major fields of action, comprising developing and maintaining a WHC data base, training city managers, lobbying, communications, and financing.  The OWHC’s most recent goal included developing a computerized system of managing data on the world heritage cities as well as providing information on its website to promote an exchange of information between managers of historic cities.

The work of UNESCO and the OWHC is very important to maintaining the character of the foreign cities and sites that Purdue students and staff members love to visit.  By providing resources and education, these organizations ensure that the best of these historic sites will be preserved despite the ever-increasing pace of change in the world.

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