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Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO’s General Conference: a global laboratory of ideas to map future multilateral cooperation, 12 to 27 November

31 October 2019



UNESCO’s 193 Member States and ten Associate Members will gather in Paris for UNESCO’s General Conference, which will this year become the world’s laboratory of ideas for new multilateral approaches to the gamut of pressing issues ranging from higher education to artificial intelligence.

While deciding on UNESCO’s programme and budget for the coming two years, the General Conference will host a number of landmark political events including:

  • 12 November (3 pm) - Heads of State and Government are expected at UNESCO during the high-level event (RE)GENERATION, Rethinking multilateralism with young change-makers. As young women and men around the world demonstrate the value of global solidarity in working for more inclusive and sustainable societies, some of their representatives will discuss the youth perspectives on global cooperation with Heads of State and Government and new ways of engaging young people in decision-making, promoting their aspirations and meeting their expectations.
  • 13 November (3 pm) – Over 100 ministers of higher education will participate in the General Conference for a Ministerial Meeting on Inclusion and Mobility, as UNESCO is set to adopt a new Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications of Higher Education to support quality, inclusion and equal access. Under development since 2011, the Convention is designed to help an estimated 8 million students and faculty pursuing academic work away from their countries of origin gain recognition for skills acquired and academic work accomplished in different countries.
  • 19 November (9 am) – UNESCO will host the largest gathering of culture ministers since the 1998 Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development. At the Forum of Culture Ministers, more than 107 Ministers will examine the place of culture in public policy and sustainable development. Their debates will focus on the solutions culture can bring in addressing current challenges and more specifically peace-building, quality education, employment and social and urban transformation.

With a special focus on Youth involvement, UNESCO’s General conference will also host the 11th UNESCO Youth Forum – Youth Spaces in Action! on 18 November. The forthcoming edition of the Youth Forum will focus on good practices to engage the young in UNESCO’s work. It will serve as a platform of dialogue, knowledge and experience sharing, peer learning and cooperation between young change makers, UNESCO and its Member States.

UNESCO will present on 22 November a new publication, Reporting on Violence against Women and Girls: a Handbook for Journalists (ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, celebrated annually on 25 November). The handbook is designed to raise the media’s awareness of this global challenge to human rights and sustainable development and to promote gender sensitive approaches to reporting on it, amidst growing awareness of the prevalence of violence against women and girls in virtually all societies. The event is sponsored by the National Commission of Canada to UNESCO, the Delegation of Canada to UNESCO and France Médias Monde.

As technological developments raise questions on the role and impact of artificial intelligence for our societies, UNESCO is pursuing reflection on ethical standards to guide the development of AI. Reflecting this concern, UNESCO will host Youth Voices and the Future of Artificial Intelligence: Towards a Human-Centred Approach on 18 November. The panel discussion will contribute to the Organization’s ongoing reflection on ways to ensure that progress in AI does not impinge on the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For the first time, UNESCO will convene a Convention’s Day ceremony, (15 November, 1pm to 3pm, Room X) for all delegations of its Member States who will be invited to sign the conventions of which UNESCO is a depository and hand their instruments of ratification to the Director-General in person. 

Human rights will be the focus of UNESCO’s celebration on 20 November of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It will feature an international conversation between children and political leaders, NGOs and other stakeholders at which all parties will present proposals concerning the rights of children for coming years.


See Full Provisional Agenda Here


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Media Contact: Laetitia Kaci, UNESCO Media Section ; +33(0) 1 45 68 17 72