Advancing ideas that shape the world
After two World Wars in less than thirty years, UNESCO was born of a clear vision: to achieve lasting peace, economic and political agreements among states are not enough. We need to bring people together through mutual understanding and dialogue between cultures.
Over the years, UNESCO has launched pioneering programmes to achieve this. From the very beginning, UNESCO denounced racism, and mobilized philosophers, artists, the brightest minds from every nation, to develop innovative projects that changed how we see the world: The Universal Copyright Convention…. Biosphere Reserves…. World Heritage…. Intangible Heritage…
Key dates in UNESCO's history
We gave rise to global centres of scientific research, from CERN to SESAME, developed tsunami early warning systems… wrote the general history of Africa and all five continents, and carried out literacy campaigns in Italy… in the Republic of Korea... in Afghanistan.
UNESCO established universal principles for scientific ethics and the human genome, and protected the best that humanity has to offer:
The temples of ancient Egypt…. saved from rising waters; The treasures of Venice….and Angkor; The old Bridge of Mostar… rebuilt after war; the Old City of Mosul….revived as a symbol of peace
Today, UNESCO is still innovating, piloting global reflections on the futures of education in a post-COVID world. We are establishing common standards on open science and the ethics of artificial intelligence. We are developing new tools to fight new forms of racism and hate speech and building a more sustainable relationship between humans and the environment.
The world needs… humanity.
Looking ahead : 1946 - 2021 and beyond
Exhibition "The UNESCO Adventure"
Fostering the best of our shared humanity
UNESCO was born in the aftermath of two world wars out of a simple but firm conviction: political and economic arrangements between states are not enough to build lasting peace. Reconciliation and development require stronger foundations, deeply rooted in societal interactions, and built upon intellectual and moral solidarity. To better understand and respect each other; to be aware that we all belong to a single human family; to recognize that we share the same planet and pursue common objectives: those are the greatest challenges.
The history of UNESCO is a journey into often titanic projects with the aim to nurture reconciliation and unite people around a common heritage. Images of the rescue and displacement, block by block, of the great temples of ancient Egypt are still fresh in the collective memory. The task of producing general history series; of coordinating early tsunami warning systems; of harmonizing representation methods for the scientific study of soils, aquifers and the ocean; the exploration missions along the Silk Roads; the campaigns to collect and preserve knowledge, traditions, music and the world’s memory, all portray the aspiration to weave stronger links between people for the exchange and circulation of knowledge for centuries to come – in the hope that full consciousness of our affiliation will dispel forever the spectre of war.
This exhibition tells the story of UNESCO’s endeavors to understand, preserve and convey the best of our shared humanity: the common thread that joins us in our efforts to transform of the world.
Sebastião Salgado has crisscrossed the Brazilian Amazon, photographing forests, rivers, mountains and the people who live there. He spent several weeks living in local villages, photographing eleven ethnic groups. This deep universe, where the immense power of nature is felt more strongly than almost any other place on earth, has imprinted striking images in the eye of the photographer.
OUT OF THE BLUE
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, UNESCO is opening its doors to contemporary creation. Out of the Blue is an exhibition by Jennifer Douzenel, an artist who has put video at the heart of her practice. In close dialogue with the architecture of the site and the spirit of the place, Blink is shown on a monumental screen along the conference centre. It is an image of the sea, stripped of anything exotic, or it is simply water, the universal symbol of life. Embedded several times in the same image, this indeterminate landscape that we discover from the UNESCO garden is a fragment of the world, which invites us to renew our view of the site and the works installed here, by opening new horizons.
"Exhibition curator - Anaël Pigeat"
Testimonies from Member States around the world
Great voices of UNESCO
"The Great Voices of UNESCO" is an original podcast in 5 episodes that mixes fiction and reality. Through the interview of Jean Microphone alias Jean Mike, a UNESCO microphone witness of the Organization’s history, it gives us a chance to (re) discover key women and men of the XXth century who expressed themselves at UNESCO, in an entertaining way. Thus, Jean Mike shares his memories but also the emblematic extracts of the speeches, real pieces of anthology of History.
Tribute to Mikis Theodorakis 1925-2021
From H.E. Marianna Vardinoyannis UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
United Nations 2020 Nelson Mandela Prize Laureate
As we celebrate our 75th Anniversary, we remember absent friends of UNESCO, in particular Mikis Theodorakis, an iconic composer and a fighter for democracy and social justice, who sadly passed away recently.
Mikis was awarded the International Music Prize by the UNESCO International Music Council in 2005, and today, we honor his passion for music and his lifelong commitment to human dignity. This is all UNESCO stands for.
UNESCO Courier 75th Anniversary Limited Edition Anthology is OUT
For UNESCO’s 75th anniversary, the Courier celebrates with a new monumental anthology,
UNESCO Courier: Transforming Ideas.
Curated as an intercultural dialogue spanning three quarters of a century, the two-volume set features 58 of the most influential articles ever published in the magazine’s history.
Volume I: Thinkers and Volume II: Creators spotlight the Courier’s celebrated authors, including anthropologists, historians, scientists, writers, artists, and well-known media personalities. Among them are Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Ada Yonath, Wener Arber; Gabriel García Márquez, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Jorge Luis Borges, J.M.G. Le Clézio; Claude Lévi-Strauss, Edgar Morin, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Yuval Noah Harari and many more.
The anthology is available for purchase at the UNESCO bookstore and online from 22 November, 2021.
Read the online version here:
RFI - The Great voices (In French)
This series of podcasts presents XXth Century key women and men who had a major influence and who came to UNESCO to share their ideas. While it had been stored for years in a cellar, the UNESCO’s Room I first microphone came out by chance. When a technician plugs it back in to check if it still works, the electric shock pulls it out of its torpor and revives its consciousness. More astonishing , still, it speaks! At the microphone of Gabriella, a RFI journalist, it shares with us its life as a witness to History. The Great Voices’s memories that made its membrane vibrate at the time come back to its own memory. It remembers the personalities and speeches it echoed in the past and let us listen to them. The Great Voices of UNESCO, an original podcast series that mixes fiction and reality, co-produced by RFI and UNESCO, in French.
In partnership with France Médias Monde
France Médias Monde, the group in charge of French international broadcasting, comprises the news channels France 24 (in French, English, Arabic and Spanish), the international radio station RFI (in French, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and 11 other languages) and the Arabic-language radio station Monte Carlo Doualiya
La marche du monde - RFI
Avec La Marche Du Monde, (re)découvrez Amadou Mahtar Mbow, dans deux podcasts inédits produits par RFI à partir d'archives sonores de l'UNESCO, retrouvez son parcours & ses combats..
Avec Lamine Sagna, sociologue et auteur du livre « Amadou Mahtar Mbow, une légende à raconter », aux éditions Karan et la participation des chercheurs de Columbia University ; Souleymane Bachir Diagne, philosophe et Mamadou Diouf, historien des idées.