Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The UNESCO Center for Peace and Hood College hosted the April meeting of the Maryland Governor's Commission on African Affairs at Hood's Marx Center Tuesday night.
The commission was created to address the need for state agencies to respond effectively to the needs and concerns of Maryland's African citizens, according to a UNESCO Center for Peace statement.
According to Guy Djoken, executive director for UNESCO Center for Peace, the African community in Frederick County has grown significantly over the past decade, though he could not cite specific numbers.
Djoken said immigrants from Ghana, Ethiopia, Liberia, Cameroon, Congo, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and The Gambia, among others, live in the county.
The United States’ “strong and consistent position,” Avigdor Lieberman wrote in an April 25 letter to the U.S. secretary of state, “prevented the introduction of five anti-Israel resolutions initiated by the Arab group” of states in the U.N. agency.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
The Chilean journalist, Mónica González Mujica, a heroine of the struggle against dictatorship in her country, has been named laureate of the 2010 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
“Throughout her professional life, Mónica González Mujica has shown courage in shining the light on the dark side of Chile,” said the President of the jury, Joe Thloloe, Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa. “She has embodied the very spirit of the Award. She has been jailed, tortured, hauled before the courts but has remained steadfast.”
“Ms González is now ploughing her experience back to the younger generation through her work at the Center of Journalism and Investigation and her workshops on investigative journalism in various countries,” added Mr Thloloe.
- its legislative bodies, the General Conference and its Executive Board with representatives of its member nations,
- the Director General which the legislative bodies elect, and
- the Director General's senior staff who are contracted and are not under the International Civil Service.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
- Deputy Director General: Getachew Engida
- Assistant Director General for the Education Sector: Qian Tang
- Assistant Director General for the Natural Science Sector: Gretchen Kalonji
- Assistant Director General for the Social and Human Sciences Sector: Maria del Pilar Alvarez-Laso
- Assistant Director General for the Culture Sector: Francesco Bandarin
- Assistant Director General for the Communications and Information Sector: Janis Karklins
- Assistant Director General for the Sector for External Relations and Cooperation: Eric Falt
- Assistant Director General for the Administration Sector: Khadija Ribes
- Assistant Director General for the UNESCO’s Africa Department: Lalla Aïcha Ben Barka
Dr. Gretchen Kalonji is an American who has had a distinguished career at the University of California system, the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the University of California since 2005, she was responsible for university wide international strategy development. The UC announcement of her appointment stated:
At UW, she has led a campus-wide effort to integrate collaborative international research activities into curricular pathways of students, across the disciplines and from freshmen to doctoral level. This initiative, entitled UW Worldwide, has been honored with multiple grants and awards, both in the United States and in partner regions. Over the past 10 years, Kalonji has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than $19 million dollars of related grants.Professor Kalonji’s work, both in materials science and in educational transformation, has been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including: the Presidential Young Investigator Award; the George E. Westinghouse Award from the American Society for Engineering Education; the Leadership Award from the International Network for Engineering Education and Research, and the National Science Foundation’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, the highest honor offered by the NSF. Professor Kalonji has held visiting faculty appointments at numerous universities and institutes around the world, including the Max Planck Institute (Germany), the University of Paris (France), Tohoku University (Japan), and Sichuan University and Tsinghua University (China). She serves on numerous national and international advisory boards and committees, particularly for projects and organizations focusing on innovations in education, equity and access in higher education, and international science and engineering. Prof. Kalonji has been called upon to give more than 115 invited lectures in institutions around the world.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Assistance under the Participation Programme is provided to Member States or Associate Member States upon requests submitted through National Commissions (requests from individuals cannot be considered). International NGOs may also benefit from assistance under the Participation Program. The domain of assistance is quite broad, as shown by the following examples of successful projects submitted during the 2008-2009 biennium to the Natural Sciences Sector:
- Establishment of a Seismological Training Center at the Jordan Seismological Observatory
- Implementation of a solar lighting system for schools (Guinea)
- Application of satellite remote sensing for integrated management of coastal and marine ecosystems (Mozambique)
- Institutional strengthening of hydrometeorological services (Bhutan)
- Establishment of flash flood forecasting and warning system in the Keumya River basin (Democratic Republic of Korea)
- Promoting Science education in primary schools through the provision of Basic Science Equipment (Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines)
provision of fellowships and study grants.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The migration of highly-skilled people is having a significant impact on higher education and research in developing nations, as universities and research centers have to retain highly-skilled and increasingly mobile professionals in increasingly competitive labour markets.
UNESCO and HP joined forces in 2003 to develop several projects, using innovative technology to create a “brain gain” for regions that are particularly impacted by the exodus of academics and scientists.
In 2009 UNESCO and HP agreed to scale up the initiative to help create a sustainable university e-infrastructure for science, bringing together higher education institutions and research centres in Africa and the Arab States region and allowing them to pursue innovative education projects.
By the end of 2011, this infrastructure could span some 100 higher education institutions in 20 countries provided like-minded corporations and organizations join UNESCO and HP in this initiative.
The World Book and Copyright Day, on 23 April, is the occasion to highlight the importance of the fight against piracy to preserve creativity. The World Anti-Piracy Observatory (WAPO), launched in January 2010, is an innovative web-based reference tool that provides detailed information on national anti-piracy measures and policies. In addition, WAPO contains useful information on best practices, capacity-building, awareness-raising, and news pertaining to anti-piracy activities worldwide.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Written by Daniel Pimienta, Daniel Prado and Alvaro Blanco, this publication is an update to the previous UNESCO study on this subject that was issued for the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005.
FUNREDES and Union Latine have designed an original research method to measure linguistic diversity in cyberspace. The aim was to use search engines and a sample of word-concepts to measure the proportionate presence of these concepts in their various linguistic equivalences.
Research, undertaken from 1996 to 2008, enabled interesting indicators to be built to measure linguistic diversity. The paper describes the research method and its results, advantages and limitations. It also provides an overview of existing alternative methods and results, for comparison.
The paper concludes with the examination of different perspectives in the field which have in the past been considered to have been characterized by a lack of scientific rigor. This has led to some misinformation about the dominant presence of English on the Web. It is a topic that is only now slowly attracting due attention from international organizations and the academic world.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Within the framework of the 50th anniversary of African independence, the Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO (SHS) is launching a “Call for Ideas” for prospective proposals in favour of Africa’s development within the next decade.
Among the proposals, which should be submitted before Friday 30 April 2010 at midnight (Paris time), 10 ideas will be selected by an international jury and presented by their author(s) during 10 small-scale conferences to be held at UNESCO Headquarters, in mid-June 2010.
These 10 contributions to the thinking on Africa’s future will also be published in a special issue of SHSviews magazine.
Each proposal is expected to develop one idea which would amplify the positive effects and reduce, or contain, the negative impacts of the major trends observed in Africa on one of the 10 following topics:
Topic 1: Economy and Development (Environment, Food Security, New Information and Communication Technologies…)
Topic 2: Governance, Policy, Institutions, Leadership
Topic 3: Regional Integration, Population, Migration, Urbanization
Topic 4: Cultural Identities (Languages, Religions…)
Topic 5: Youth
Topic 6: Human Rights, Gender and Justice
Topic 7: Diaspora
Topic 8: Peace, Security and Conflict
Topic 9: Health, Education and Social Development
Topic 10: International Relations
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, in recognition of life on Earth. Eight years ago, more than 190 countries agreed, through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010. This October, the Convention will meet in Nagoya, Japan, to evaluate progress and agree on new biodiversity targets for the world. Shortly before that, the UN General Assembly will address the biodiversity crisis for the first time.UNESCO will be observing the International Year of Biodiversity, and its program titled People, Biodiversity and Ecology seeks to create an international network for the study of the natural sciences underlying biodiversity and how people can live in such a way as to conserve biodiversity.
It is clear from many indices of biodiversity that the world has failed to meet the 2010 target. For example, in its Red List of Threatened Species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature documents the extinction risk of 47,677 species: 17,291 are threatened, including 12% of birds, 21% of mammals, 30% of amphibians, 27% of reef-building corals, and 35% of conifers and cycads. Tracking extinction risk over time through this index reveals even worse news, with dramatic declines in many groups, notably amphibians and corals. The Living Planet Index reveals that populations of wild species have declined by 30% since 1970; mangrove forests have lost a fifth of their area since 1980, and 29% of seagrass beds are gone.
This biodiversity loss has grim consequences for humanity. According to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study in 2009, half the welfare of the world's 1.1 billion poorest people flows directly from nature, through benefits including wild harvest, crop pollination, disaster mitigation, clean water provision, and maintenance of traditional cultures. The study estimates the total global annual economic cost of biodiversity loss, where it can be measured, to be between 1.35 and 3.1 trillion U.S. dollars. In addition, destruction of tropical forests (shrinking by 6 million hectares each year) is responsible for nearly a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, driving climate change. Biodiversity loss deprives our descendants of currently unknown but potentially vast benefits. And in the sense that it cuts off humanity from the wonders of nature, the loss ultimately makes us less human.
Contents Vol. 8 No 2
2. Eight predictions for 21st century conservation
10 Women laureates battle parasites and disease
10 UNESCO comes to Haiti’s aid
11 Biodiversity target will not be met in 2010
12 Post-2010 targets must recognize key biodiversity areas
12 Afghanistan launches plan for higher education
13 First karez restored in Iraq
14 Iraq joins Avicenna Virtual Campus
14 The Scarlet Knight arrives in Spain
15 David Hills on what industry can learn from nature
17 Fisheries in a cod climate
20 All you ever wanted to know about biodiversity...
24 New releases
Monday, April 05, 2010
The ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP are jointly sponsoring the WSIS Forum 2010 scheduled to be held from 10 to 14 of May 2010 at the ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. This event builds upon the tradition of annual WSIS May meetings, and its new format is the result of open consultations with all WSIS Stakeholders.
The Forum will offer participants a series of diverse interactions, including high-level debates addressing critical issues to the WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder set-ups, WSIS Action Line facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, kick-off meetings for new initiatives and projects, knowledge exchanges facilitating networking among the participants, and others. The forum will provide structured opportunities to network, learn and to participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation.
- IOC Strategic Plan
- Baker report regarding GOOS Planning and Implementation
- OceanObs '09 conference statement, September 2009
- Ocean Sciences Workplan as proposed to the 25th Assembly, June 2009
- OBIS Strategy and Workplan Meeting, November 2009
- IOC Establishes a Trust Fund for OBIS (IOC Circular 2333)
- Assessment of Assessments Report
- Refresh of the US Oceans Research Priorities Plan
- International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM)
The United States of America applauded and supported the Director-General’s efforts to put
UNESCO at the lead of the international effort to preserve Haiti’s patrimony. Mr Killion knew that the Director-General had written to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others on the subject. The U.S. delegation, however, was concerned about reports recently received that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had not yet begun to address the issue of preserving Haiti’s cultural heritage. Ambassador Killion asked:
- What replies had been received to those letters?
- Was MINUSTAH now firmly committed to saving cultural property in Haiti, and what, specifically, was being done on the ground?
The UNESCO Venice Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter published in English by the UNESCO Office in Venice. This issue of the UNESCO VENICE Newsletter features articles about Science and Culture, UN initiatives and joint programming in the region.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, talks to Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of ICANN. The video was made in Paris on 10 December 2009, when a significant step was taken towards greater linguistic diversity on the Internet when UNESCO signed an agreement with ICANN – the body that assigns online addresses to Internet users – to help put into operation the first multilingual domain names.