The United Nations Educational
Organisation (UNESCO) was created on 16 November 1945
. Its lofty (if anachronistically sexist
) goal is to 'build peace in the minds of men'.
Today, UNESCO aims to forge universal agreements and share ideas on emerging ethical issues. More practically it aims to disseminate and share information and knowledge, and assist member states build their educational infrastructure, nurture their culture and expand the frontiers of science. More contentiously, UNESCO aims to achieve dialogue between member states to promote the universal values that underpin sustainable development, human rights and other warm fuzzy stuff that requires delegations.
UNESCO is headquartered in Paris, and boasts 190 member states. In 1984 a number of countries including the United States, Britain and Singapore left UNESCO after complaining about budgetary mismanagement and the politicisation of its ideals. Some critics were also concerned that the UNESCO Secretary-General at the time, Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, was advocating for a "new world information order" which was seen to be designed to suppress press freedom. In 2002 the United States rejoined - some cynics think the US want to use UNESCO to secure an intellectual mandate from the world community for its war on terror; others think the US just wants to water down treaties.