The US Could Soon Lose Its Voting Ability at Unesco

    by  • October 17, 2013 • UN Agencies, US-UN Relations • 

    Monticello, a Unesco World Heritage Site

    The United States may be ineligible to vote in Unesco’s November elections to choose members of the agency’s executive board and the next director-general, among other major matters, because the US stopped paying its dues as a member in October 2011. Unesco, formally called the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is known for its [...]

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    For UN Member Nations, ‘Vulnerability Is a Global Phenomenon’

    by  • September 24, 2013 • General Assembly • 

    Hassan Rouhani

    The annual United Nations debate of the 68th General Assembly got off to a contentious start on Sept. 24 with pointedly worded but divergent speeches by Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and Barack Obama, the president of the United States. The two countries traditionally kick off the annual debate, held every September in New York for [...]

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    From Students, a Plea to Strengthen Unesco

    by  • July 30, 2013 • WORLDVIEWS • 1 Comment

    A 13th-century Islamic manuscript in Mali

    After witnessing devastation to cultural heritage sites during World War II, Unesco took it upon itself to protect such structures during conflict based on the idea that “damage to cultural property” means damage to the cultural heritage of everyone. So far, Unesco has largely failed at this goal. The Taliban in Afghanistan blew up ancient [...]

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    An American in Europe: The UN, Who Cares?

    by  • February 12, 2013 • Development, US-UN Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments

    The metro in Cologne, Germany

    BRUSSELS — George Gershwin certainly would not have been inspired to write a symphonic tone poem about an American academic on sabbatical attempting to interpret European reactions to the United Nations. Ten years ago, Robert Kagan wrote that “Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus.” Perhaps, but not regarding the UN. After years of [...]

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    The Glory of Self-Learning, Discovered by Children in India

    by  • February 6, 2013 • Asia, Education • 2 Comments

    An Indian student in front of a Hole in the Wall education kiosk.

    Imagine a new world of innovative, inexpensive and successful learning, where dusty streets in rural towns in developing countries are lined with self-powered computer kiosks and children from poor neighborhoods have the same ability to work with new technology as children in richer areas do. That dynamic is the goal of new education policies put [...]

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    Palestinians Cheer New Status at the United Nations

    by  • November 30, 2012 • General Assembly, Middle East, US-UN Relations • 

    43rd plenary meeting of the General Assembly67th session: Question of Palestine

    The General Assembly voted to elevate the Palestinian territories‘ status at the United Nations to nonmember observer state from nonmember observer entity, which it has held since 1974. The vote, occurring late afternoon on Nov. 29 in a packed Assembly Hall, was preceded by several speeches, including one by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the [...]

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    The UN General Assembly Takes Up a Once-Taboo Topic

    by  • October 12, 2012 • Africa, General Assembly, Women's Issues • 3 Comments

    Nepali woman dancing

      A growing movement within the United Nations to ban female genital mutilation globally has led to the first resolution to be written on the issue in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which will vote on the matter this month. Two Francophone countries in West Africa, Burkina Faso and Benin, have proposed the draft resolution [...]

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    The Unesco-US Relationship: It’s Complicated

    by  • August 20, 2012 • US-UN Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 3 Comments

    Prague's Vlata River.

    When it comes to mysteries, the United States’ decision to rejoin Unesco in 2002 under a Republican administration and after nearly two decades’ absence remains puzzling, but it appears the move can be traced to Hollywood. Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has always borne the brunt of criticism from US politicians. Allegations [...]

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