Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
UNESCO and infoDev have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that lays the ground for future cooperation, particularly in in the areas of education and communication.
The Memorandum foresees that UNESCO and infoDev will share ideas, resources, and expertise to launch joint projects and improve the impact of their action.
In terms of the agreement, particular emphasis will be placed on providing education planners, policy-makers and practitioners with resources for the use of information and communication technologies in education.infoDev is a partnership of international development agencies, coordinated and served by an Secretariat housed at the World Bank. Thus its offices are in Washington D.C. While there have been close informal relationships between the U.S. government and infoDev and U.S. citizens in the Secretariat, and while the U.S. is a member nation of the World Bank, the U.S. government has not been a donor to infoDev.
Dr. Baez was the director of the science education program of UNESCO from 1961-67. During that period he organized and led a program to improve science education in secondary schools worldwide. The program included projects to improve physics education in Latin America, chemistry education in Asia, biology education in Africa, and mathematics education in the Arab states. The trail breaking program introduced simple, inexpensive kits to allow science experiments in secondary schools, produced films, and utilized programmed education techniques (which were very innovative at the time) for the teachers of science. The work depended significantly on Dr. Baez' earlier participation in the Physics Science Studies Committee which helped to improve physics education in U.S. secondary schools.
Previously, in 1951, he had served UNESCO in Baghdad, where he taught at Baghdad University. In the 1980s, he served as chairman of the Commission on Education for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Dr. Baez was a distinguished physicist, known professionally as the co-inventor (in 1948) of the X-ray reflection microscope. He served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and other universities. As a physics professor and a pacifist, he refused to use his considerable expertise to advance the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.
In retirement, he served as president of Vivamos Mejor (Let Us Live Better), an organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life through science-based education and community development projects in Latin America. He was active in the work of Bread and Roses, an organization founded by his daughter Mimi Farina to bring free live music to people confined in institutions - jails, hospitals, juvenile facilities and rest homes. He endowed the Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award, which is given for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity.
In 1956 (with W.C. Nixon) he published Lectures on the X-ray Microscope, and in 1967 he wrote The New College Physics: A Spiral Approach. He co-authored The Environment and Science and Technology Education, published in 1987, and with his daughter, Joan Baez, the memoir A Year in Baghdad in 1988.
To those in the international community interested in science education, he is known as a founding father of the discipline. To the general public he is perhaps better known as the father who introduced his daughters, Joan Baez and Mimi Farina to music, to the love of peace, and to social responsibility.
Dr. Baez was born on November 15, 1912, in Puebla, Mexico, and came to the United States with his family at two years of age. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Drew University, a master's degree in physics from Syracuse University, a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in physics from Stanford University.
Dr. Baez is survived by his wife Joan Bridge Baez of Woodside, Calif.; and daughters Joan Baez and Pauline Bryan of Carmel Valley, Calif.
A Quaker memorial celebration was planned for May.
Read Dr. Baez' obituaries in:
Thursday, March 22, 2007
22 March - World Day for Water 2007: Coping with Water Scarcity
World Water Day (WWD) 2007 is guided by the theme 'Coping with Water Scarcity'. The United Nations family is celebrating the day under the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Check out the UNESCO website for World Water Day.
:: WWD 07 website
:: Calendar of events
:: Message of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon [PDF format - 16.6 KB]
:: UNESCO Director-General's message for WWD07 [PDF format - 56 KB]
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Yesterday evening, Dr. Robert Maybury presented a class on science and technology education, and the history of such programs at UNESCO. That class has stimulated an online discussion which may be of interest to the readers of this blog.
Monday, March 19, 2007
UNESCO European Centre for Higher Education
CEPES, Bucarest (Romania)
International Centre for Theoretical Physics
ICTP, Trieste (Italy)
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
UNESCO International Institute for Capacity-Building in Africa
IICBA, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
UIL, Hamburg (Germany)
UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning
IIEP, Paris (France) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)
UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean
IESALC, Caracas (Venezuela)
UNESCO International Bureau of Education
IBE, Geneva, (Switzerland)
UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
IITE, Moscow (Russian Federation)
UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training UNEVOC, Bonn (Germany) UNESCO Institute for Statistics
UIS, Montreal (Canada)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Entitled, International Flows of Selected Cultural Goods and Services, 1994-2003, the report analyzes cross-border trade data from about 120 countries on selected products, such as books, CDs, videogames and sculptures. It presents new methodology to better reflect cultural trade flows, contributing to UNESCO’s effort to collect and analyze data that clearly illustrate the central role of culture in economic, social and human development.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides a useful service to the nations of the world, helping to standardize these statistics, and collecting and publishing comparative data. Cultural trade is of great economic importance to the United States, and these comparative statistics are important tools for our policy makers. U.S. communications media play a major role in this trade.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
He gave his name to the MacBride Principles, which established a code of conduct for U.S. firms operating in Northern Ireland. The MacBride Principles are considered to have provided Irish-Americans with a direct, meaningful and non-violent means of addressing injustice in Northern Ireland. They appear to have significantly advanced the peace process in Ireland.
MacBride was also a founding member of Amnesty International and served as its International Chairman. He was Secretary-General of the International Committee of Jurists from 1963 to 1971 and was elected President of the International Peace Bureau. He was Vice-President of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC, later OECD).
Some of his appointments to the United Nations System included:
* Assistant Secretary-General of the United NationsMacBride's was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1974) as a man who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice." He later received the American Medal for Justice (1975) from President Carter and the UNESCO Silver Medal (1980).
* President of the UN General Assembly
* UN High Commissioner for Refugees
* UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Dr. Sean MacBride was born on January 26, 1904. His father was Major John MacBride, one of Ireland's legendary heroes who fought the British at Jacob's factory during the Easter Week Rebellion; John MacBride was sentenced to death by the English and executed at Kilmainham Jail on May 5, 1916. The mother of Sean MacBride was Maud Gonne MacBride, a beauty and one of the strongest advocates of Irish Nationalism. W. B. Yeats idolized her in many of his poems.
How many loved your moments of glad grace,The UNESCO Connection
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
-- From "When You Are Old," William Butler Yeats
From 1977 to 1980, Sean MacBride served as the President of UNESCO's International Commission for the Study of Communications Problems. While the Commission was very distinguished, and included another Nobel laureate (Gabriel García Márquez), its report is still known as the MacBride Report. According to Andrew Calabrese ("The MacBride Report: Its Value to a New Generation")
The MacBride Report, and the call for a "new world information and communication order" (NWICO) that followed, precipitated the decision by the U.S. government to withdraw its membership from UNESCO. In a letter dated December 28, 1983 from Reagan administration Secretary of State George Schultz to UNESCO director-general Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, the reasons for the U.S. withdrawal were given. Equal emphasis was given to issues of mismanagement and "the injection of political goals beyond the scope of the cooperative enterprise" (Schultz, 1984, p. 84). What was clear to all involved was that the decision was made on behalf of big mass media and telecommunications industry interests in the United States.However, Calabrese concludes (writing in 2005 on the 25th anniversary of the report and after the return of the United States to UNESCO)
Much has changed since the MacBride Report was published, not only in global politics, but also in global communication. The year 2005 and the WSIS do not mark a stopping point in a global dialogue about the right to communicate, but this year is an auspicious occasion to commemorate the political legacy of the MacBride Report. Despite the geopolitical limitations that filtered the contributions of its authors, they had the foresight to hope for a kind of "globalization" that, rather than signify divisions among citizens of the world, acknowledged our common humanity. With all of its flaws, for which progressive communication activists understandably have distanced themselves over the past twenty-five years, the MacBride Report projects a spirit of hopefulness about how a better world is possible, about the continued importance of public institutions as means to ensure global justice at local, national, and transnational levels, and about the value of global communication as a means to knowledge, understanding and mutual respect. For these reasons, the anniversary of the MacBride Report should be celebrated, and the complexity of its legacy understood, by a new generation of communication rights activists.Ireland is coming to the end of an 800 year long conflict, and Sean MacBride was one of Ireland's most important and best known advocates for peace. That national background gave his address on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize special relevance. In that address MacBride concluded:
If disarmament can be achieved it will be due to the untiring selfless work of the non-governmental sector. This is what Alfred Nobel appreciated in his days. It is more urgent than ever now......The signpost just ahead of us is "Oblivion". Can the march on this road be stopped? Yes, if public opinion uses the power it now has.Reading the conclusions and recommendations of the MacBride report today, they seem remarkably relevant and important. They also seem to reflect MacBride's understanding of UNESCO's fundamental role in promoting peace first in the minds of men!
Comment: This posting represents my opinions, and not necessarily those of other editors of this blog nor of Americans for UNESCO. JAD
Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO sent this message to UNESCO's staff:
Mr Peter Smith, Assistant Director-General for Education, has tendered his resignation, which I have accepted, and which is effective immediately.Newspapers coverage of the departure includes article in:
I wish to reiterate my full commitment to the aims of the Education Sector strategic reform, which will continue. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that UNESCO achieves its goals in education.
Pending the recruitment of a successor, interim arrangements will be made. From tomorrow, Friday 16 March, and until those arrangements have been announced, the Education Sector will report directly to me.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Mildred Dresselhaus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Institute Professor and Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, this year was selected as one of five prominent women scientists worldwide to receive the 9th L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. Dr. Dresselhaus was recognized for her research on solid state materials, including conceptualizing the creation of carbon nanotubes, which are used in objects such as lightweight bicycles and flat-panel screens.
The award was presented by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and CEO of L'ORÉAL. U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, Louise V. Oliver also hosted a reception in honor of Dr. Dresselhaus. The 2007 Laureates each received US$100,000. In addition to the United States, they included women scientists from Chile, Mauritius, New Zealand and Russia.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The UNESCO supported "Community Multimedia Centers" are community-based facilities offering both community radio broadcasting and telecenter services. Radio broadcasts by local people in local languages are now possible at low cost due to the development of small, inexpensive, easy-to-operate broadcast facilities. In Africa and other regions, where languages are spoken and national broadcast networks are weak, community radio provides a new and important medium for communication of news, information, and entertainment. The radio not only informs, educates and entertains, but it also empowers the community by giving a strong public voice to the voiceless, and thus encouraging greater accountability in public affairs.
Community telecenter facilities include phone, fax and photocopying services as well as computers linked to the Internet and e-mail. For poor communities in developing nations, they can provide an affordable information lifeline. Individuals and families can use these facilities, which can often have great economic value or indeed be lifesaving. So too, the schools, health centers, agricultural cooperatives, and businesses in a community find such connectivity valuable. Combining together, these users can often more than afford a service which none alone could justify.
Combining community radio and telecenter functions realizes synergies between the two functions. The radio operator has immediate Internet access and communications, vastly enriching broadcast content. The telecenter can broadcast information it receives of general interest, such as weather reports and market prices. There are also economic efficiencies in colatacting the two.
This UNESCO initiative showing the world the power of CMCs is in its fifth year of operation, with 39 pilot CMCs established in communities across Latin America/Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.
The external evaluation of the program finds:
• The CMCs are accepted by and fully integrated into the communities and can in many cases be sustained beyond the pilot phase without core operating grants. The effort and funding that UNESCO has channeled into this transformative initiative has been exceeded by the hard work and commitment of the CMC staff and the communities where they are based. Their contribution to improving quality of life through access to information is confirmed. Equitable and expanded access to ICTS is promoted in many ways, such as subsidized training for special, marginalized groups, close work with schools, small businesses and the independent sector or providing information to more remote communities through radio.
• Longer term benefits are already being realized within individual communities, such as the gradual removal of barriers to social inclusion, the stimulation of poverty alleviation through access to knowledge of better health, resource management and agriculture practices, through the establishment of listeners clubs as self help groups (a direct connection between CMC work and the generation of income from small savings and credit operations), and the creation of new livelihoods opportunities. The CMC role in fostering cultural resilience – the capacity of a community to retain critical knowledge and at the same time adapt to external influences and pressures - is particularly remarkable.
• The evaluation identifies the following success factors for CMCs: building on an existing facility; ownership and/or long term community commitment; good integration of radio and telecentre components; an orientation to development; diversification of content to meet community needs, including promotion of local culture; access to tools and expertise developed by UNESCO and others; diversification of revenues, including capacity to approach local/national governments for delivery of services and the international donor community for project funding.
• UNESCO was commended by key informants for excellence in delivery of the initiative. The CI sector effectively deployed a “rapid results” approach, planning each CMC as a “mini-project” with the elements of small scale, results orientation, rapid implementation and vertical integration of objectives and tasks within each project.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) provides an opportunity for Washington area graduate students interested in international affairs, development, trade, finance, and related disciplines to explore the field of international organizations. The Fellows Program offers participants the chance to build strong professional and academic skills through relevant internship experiences and a series of 8-10 seminars on global issues and the United Nations.
UNA/NCA Fellows are registered graduate students in the Fall 2007 semester at one of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area studying international affairs, trade, development, or a related discipline. The 15 Consortium Schools are: American University, Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, Georgetown University, George Mason University,The George Washington University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins University / SAIS, Joint Military College, Marymount University, National Defense University, Southeastern University, Trinity College, University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland, College Park.
Americans for UNESCO
The George Washington University
2131 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
To access the materials click on the link below:
Most linked publications are online, but some books that can not be downloaded are linked to booksellers. Even out-of-print books are now often available in the online used book market. There are also websites that seemed likely to be of special interest to the students.
One advantage of the online system is that it can be searched. Each entry also tells you how many other people have linked to that resource in their social bookmarking sites. Those of you who use del.icio.us should be able to easily transfer links from the site to you personal collection.
There are also "tags". If you click on one of the tags to the right of the del.icio,us list, you will get a reduced list that contains all those tagged with that term. It is possible to combine tags so that, for example, you can obtain a list of resources on the history of UNESCO that are available online.
A UNESCO survey on INFOethics
The survey was prepared by Mary Rundle and Chris Conely of the NGO Geneva Net Dialogue at UNESCO's request.
In presenting the results, an introductory story is first provided of how the technologies covered relate to one another. Infoethics goals are then presented. Subsequently, for each technological trend surveyed, the report contains a short chapter drafted in lay terms to provide an overview of the relevant technology and to highlight ramifications and concerns. The infoethics analysis is then summarized and the story of the emerging technologies revisited. Finally, the report offers recommendations on ways to advance infoethics goals in anticipation of these oncoming technologies.
The ethical, legal and societal implications of ICTs are one of the three main priorities of UNESCO’s Information for All Programme and UNESCO was recently designated as the Facilitator for the implementation of Action Line C10 “Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society” of the Geneva Action Plan adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Photo by Bruce S. Lieberman, University of Kansas, via the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery
Read the news story on the initiative from BBC News.
The world's geologists are to bring together all their maps, producing the first truly global resource on rocks. The effort calls on scientists from more than 55 nations. Organizers hope that the website will be able to display searchable rock data for the entire Earth down to the scale of 1:1,000,000. The project, which has the backing of Unesco and five other global umbrella bodies, will be a centerpiece of the International Year of Planet Earth in 2008.
Check out the OneGeology Project website.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Read about how UNESCO is using space technologies to help save the frozen tombs of Siberia. Read about other UNESCO remote sensing initiatives.
G8-UNESCO World Forum on 'Education, Research and Innovation: New Partnership for Sustainable Development'
The Forum builds on the discussion launched at the on the interconnections between the three components of the triangle of knowledge—education, scientific research and technological innovation—from the perspective of sustainable development, and seeks to identify risks and opportunities for industrialized countries as well as developing and low-income countries.The discussion will be presented by speakers from the educational, scientific and businessl worlds, drawn from G8 countries as well as developing countries. The Forum is intended as an opportunity for discussion and no final document is foreseen.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Read more about UNESCO's language s in cyberspace efforts.
Check out the workshop on recent experience measuring language in cyberspace.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
park and one of UNESCO's first biosphere reserves.
More than 482 sites worldwide are recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program as biosphere reserves. The reserves act as laboratories where biodiversity conservation and sustainable development approaches are tested and developed. They are ideal places to design innovative economic models that benefit local people and maintain cultures, biodiversity and associated values.
Within UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, biosphere reserves are established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. Biosphere reserves are designated by the International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programme, at the request of the State concerned. Biosphere reserves, each of which remains under the sole sovereignty of the State where it is situated and thereby submitted to State legislation only, form a World Network in which participation by the States is voluntary.There are 47 biosphere reserves in the United States. They were created as follows:
28 in 1976Considering that the National Park Service manages a network of nearly 400 natural, cultural and recreational sites across the nation, it is surprising that there are not more UNESCO recognized biological reserves in the United States. Of course, a part of the reason is that few sites were proposed during the period that the United States had withdrawn from UNESCO.
3 in 1979
2 in 1980
2 in 1981
3 in 1983
1 in 1984
2 in 1986
3 in 1988
1 each in 1989, 1990 and 1991
none since 1991.
A distinguished panel of scientific administrators serves as the U.S. National Man and the Biosphere Committee, headed by: Dr. Barbara Weber (Chairperson), and Drs. John Matuszak and Michael Soukup (Vice Chairpersons).
Monday, March 05, 2007
IPY, organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is actually the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. In order to have full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY 2007-8 covers two full annual cycles from March 2007 to March 2009 and will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.
The United Nations General Assembly, meeting in New York, has proclaimed the year 2008 to be the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth. The Year's activities will span the three years 2007-2009.
The International Union of Geological Sciences and UNESCO have jointly created a major initiative for the effort. This IUGS-UNESCO initiative consists of three phases:
* Feasibility phase (completed February 2002).
* Preparatory phase - now in train
* Implementation phase.
On 2 February, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, and the Italian Minister for the Environment, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, signed an agreement under which Italy will provide a grant of 7.5 million of Euros for the implementation of the third phase of the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and to transfer its Secretariat to Perugia, Italy.
Applicants should have an advanced University Degree (preferably PhD or equivalent scientific qualifications) in civil or environmental engineering with emphasis on water resources management, system analysis, hydrology and water quality, especially in integrated water resources management studies; and 10 to 15 years of experience, of which at least 5 years with managerial responsibilities with experience in policy development and decision making processes.
The closing date for applications to the position is 19 April 2007.
* Read more about the position [PDF format - 47 KB]
* Apply online
Sunday, March 04, 2007
UNESCO is organizing an international conference entitled “Women Peacemakers” to celebrate International Women’s Day. This conference will bring together distinguished women whose work has contributed to the promotion of peace.
Eighty to 90% of the victims in today’s conflicts are civilians, and the vast majority of them are women and girls. Yet women do not participate fully in peacemaking processes, and when they do, their contribution is often overlooked.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg(pictured to the left), a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, will inaugurate the conference. Panelists will include Swanee Hunt(pictured to the right), former US Ambassador to Austria and founder of the Initiative for Inclusive Security.
A series of other events marking Women’s Day will take place at UNESCO from 28 February to 22 March.
Check out the UNIFEM website for International Womens Day!