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Youth – Partners: Cooperation with Private Partners
Over the past few years, UNESCO’s partnerships with the private sector have increased to several hundred, ranging from multinational companies to small and medium sized enterprises, philanthropic trusts and foundations, economic and business associations and individuals.
Working in the fields of education, social and human sciences, culture and communication and information, UNESCO benefits from opportunities for partnership with the private sector in any of these five fields and across them, forging inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary partnerships. Consequently, UNESCO’s specific goals and assets provide the Organisation’s partners with a unique platform of strategic engagement for tackling global challenges.

In this context, the private sector contribution to youth-led or youth related projects increases young people’s means of putting their ideas into practice (both in terms of financial resources and in terms of networking capacity), while ensuring the promotion of UNESCO’s ideals and goals.

Examples of cooperation with private partners:

“Vision and development”: the cooperation between UNESCO and ESSILOR International

Since 2004 cooperation between UNESCO and ESSILOR, the world’s leading producer of ophthalmic lenses, has centred on the co-organisation of the International ‘Vision and Development’ Forum on World Sight Day. The Forum consists of a unique gathering of educators, medical professionals, sociologists and civil society actors who come together to address questions of access to education in relation to visual health and development. The objectives of the Forum are:
  • To examine the profound notion of “vision” and its implications as far as Education For All, sustainable development and cultural diversity are concerned.
  • To exchange and act in order to continue improving access to education, the quality of education and access to visual healthcare.
In October 2004, the 1st International ‘Vision and Development’ Forum was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and was called Let’s change our perception. In addition to several round-tables, the Forum included a photo exhibition, ‘Perceptions of the Favelas- A Visual Manifesto’. The success of this event led the two partners to develop this concept and move it outside UNESCO headquarters.

In October 2005, the 2nd International ‘Vision and Development’ Forum was held in Dakar, Senegal, on the specific theme of Quality of education and quality of providing access to visual health. The UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa was the main local partner.

In October 2006, owing to the necessity of calling attention to the scientific progress in ophthalmology that was made in India and the need to speed up progress in EFA processes, the 3rd International ‘Vision and Development’ Forum was held in New Delhi and addressed the theme Speeding up for the next milestones. The UNESCO Office in New Delhi was a vital local partner.

In addition to the cooperation for the organisation of the International ‘Vision and Development’ Forum, ESSILOR has also participated in the “Send my friend to school” catalogue published for the EFA week 2005 (24-30 April 2005) held in the framework of the celebrations of UNESCO 60th Anniversary and to the “Poverty Eradication. A “Policy guidelines on peer-group monitoring and evaluation” publication is currently under preparation by UNESCO.Stade Français

Since 2003, UNESCO has been cooperating with the Tennis Section of the Stade Français, a private sports club in Paris, on an annual tennis tournament held in Paris for 13-14 year olds (the “Youth Tennis Open”). The event has been going from strength to strength, and in 2006 included workshops on sport values, a roundtable on anti-doping and a cultural, social and educative programme. Throughout the tournament, a dedicated team of youth specialists provided informative and entertaining on-site programmes, focusing mainly on the non-competitive and collaborative aspects of this unique meeting of international youth.The tournament is a valuable tool in the promotion of sport values and the valorisation of cultural diversity among young athletes, and furthermore serves as a highly visible opportunity for UNESCO to cooperate with prestigious organisations and private companies active in the field of sport.

The links between UNESCO and the tournament were recently highlighted when Justine Henin, the current World Number 1 female tennis player and former winner of the BNP Paribas Cup, was presented with the UNESCO Champion for Sport award. The BNP Paribas Cup was one of Justine’s first triumphs and she shared her memories of it during a recent interview.

In 2007, the tournament took place from the 9 to 15 July in Paris (France). The tournament model is to be emulated in China and in Washington during 2007, and in Brazil and in India in 2008.

For more information on the 2007 tournament, click here.

For more information on UNESCO’s cooperation with the private sector, click here.

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