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UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Organisation


Symposium "60 years of UNESCO"
 The opening of UNESCO's first General Conference at the Sorbonne, Paris (20 November to 10 December 1946).
 © UNESCO/Eclair Mondial

On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, UNESCO hosted, from 16th to 18th November 2005, an international symposium on the Organization’s history, which took place at its Headquarters in Paris.

The proceedings of this symposium: “60 ans de l’histoire de l’UNESCO" (60 Years of UNESCO’s History) are now available in French; an English version will appear soon. To obtain a paper copy, please contact archives@unesco.org

The objective of the symposium was to inspire research on topics relating to the history of the Organization. Rather than providing an official or definitive history, the symposium aimed at multiplying approaches to understanding UNESCO’s past. A concluding session of the symposium attempted to set out new perspectives for research and international scientific cooperation on this topic for the period from 2005-2010.

More than eighty historians, anthropologists, philosophers and other scholars spoke at round table sessions or in plenary on major themes of UNESCO’s history, such as the birth of the Organization, the vision of humanism and peace, the notion of race, ideals and their development in the context of the Cold War and decolonisation, reconciliation, reconstruction, dialogue of civilisations, education for all, World Heritage and the social responsibility of the sciences.

The symposium was organised in partnership with :


Documentation resources
“UNESCO History Project” (PDF)
Webcast - Live and On-demand/Opening ceremony
Ceremony of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution of UNESCO. Programme includes official speeches, special guests and artistic interlude. More

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