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   The Organization
   UNESCO: What it is and What it does?

Founded in 1945, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is today composed of 191 Member States. The Governing bodies (General Conference and Executive Board) meet periodically to assure proper functioning, establish priorities and set goals for the Secretariat, headed by the Director-General. This section of the UNESCO Portal is divided as follows:

Detail of The Fall of Icarus by Pablo Picasso
© UNESCO/Bia Barbosa
  • About UNESCO
    Learn more about its Constitution, History, Major Milestones and Fields of Action.

  • Governing Bodies
    The General Conference is comprised of representatives from Member States. It meets every two years to determine the policies and main lines of work of the Organization. The Executive Board meets twice a year to ensure that decisions taken by the General Conference are implemented.

  • Director-General
    The Director-General is the executive head of the Organization. Eight Directors-General have served the Organization since 1946. The present Director-General of UNESCO, who was appointed in 1999, is Koïchiro Matsuura of Japan.

  • Secretariat
    The Secretariat is composed of international civil servants based at Paris Headquarters and in Field Offices. It implements the Programme following the Medium-Term Strategy (2002-2007). Through intensive external relations and cooperation with civil society, the Secretariat amplifies UNESCO's action worldwide. UNESCO celebrates international days, years and decades as well as other anniversaries in Member States. In additon, UNESCO awards 33 international prizes in its fields of competence

    Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific