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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945.  For this specialized United Nations agency, it is not enough to build classrooms in devastated countries or to publish scientific breakthroughs.  Education, Social and Natural Science, Culture and Communication are the means to a far more ambitious goal: to build peace in the minds of men.

Today, UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues.  The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. In short, UNESCO promotes international co-operation among its 195 Member States and eight Associate Members in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

UNESCO is working to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.  This role is critical, particularly in the face of terrorism, which constitutes an attack against humanity. The world urgently requires global visions of sustainable development based upon observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which lie at the heart of UNESCO’s mission and activities.

Through its strategies and activities, UNESCO is actively pursuing the Millennium Development Goals, especially those aiming to:

  • halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries by 2015
  • achieve universal primary education in all countries by 2015
  • eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005
  • help countries implement a national strategy for sustainable development by 2005 to reverse current trends in the loss of environmental resources by 2015