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UNESCO General Conference proclaims 16 May as International Day of Light

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:23
focus_fiber_optics_optoelectronics_research_centre-southampton-uk_dpl.jpg © Optoelectronics Research Centre Southampton-uk 14 November 2017

The 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference has today proclaimed the date of May 16th as the International Day of Light.  The proclamation of this annual International Day will enable global appreciation of the central role that light and light-based technologies play in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, technology, culture, education, and sustainable development. It will provide is an enduring legacy to UNESCO’s highly successful International Year of Light in 2015 that reached over 100 million people in over 140 countries. The proposal was adopted during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which just came to a close today in Paris, France.

The proclamation of this annual International Day will enable global appreciation of the central role that light plays in our daily lives in areas of science, culture, education, sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. On the most fundamental level, through photosynthesis, light is at the origin of life itself,  and the many applications of light have had a transformative impact on society. Light-based technologies are increasingly providing solutions to global challenges in, energy, education, agriculture, and community health. Applications of light-based technologies are key enablers to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the developing world.

The broad theme of light will allow many different sectors of society to participate in activities around the world that will raise awareness of science and technology, as well as art and culture and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO in promoting education, equality and peace. The first International Day of Light celebration is planned for 16 May 2018. This date marks the anniversary of the first operation of a laser beam, on 16 May 1960 by Theodore Maiman.

The International Day of Light was introduced to UNESCO by sponsors Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand and the Russian Federation, and supported at the UNESCO Executive Board and the General Conference by 27 countries: Argentina, Colombia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Nigeria, Paraguay, Qatar, Togo, Vietnam, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

Partners worldwide are now making plans for an ambitious series of outreach and education activities in May 2018, with special focus on students, young people and the public at large. In addition, a flagship inauguration leaders in areas of education, industry, design and lighting will take place on 16 May 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

The International Day of Light is administered from UNESCO’s International Basic Science Programme by a Steering Committee that also includes representatives from: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Physical Society (EPS), the International Association of lighting Designers (IALD), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), - the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Philips Lighting, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) and Thorlabs.

UNESCO welcomes all partners who wish to get involved in the International Day of Light either through organizing their own activities or by supporting the flagship event on May 16 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. For event registration, enquiries about partnership opportunities, and any other questions, please contact:

  • Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga:
    International Basic Sciences Programme, UNESCO, Paris, France                                                                                    
  • Jorge Rivero González:        
    International Day of Light Secretariat & Press Officer

More information



Categories: News

UNESCO Member States adopt recommendations of Education Commission

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 16:40
general-conference-ed-commissionc-c-unesco-christelle-alix-news.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 14 November 2017

UNESCO Member States adopted the recommendations presented by the Education Commission at the 39th General Conference, which concluded today - 14 November 2017.

Among the key items approved were UNESCO’s role in the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030, the Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021 and “Academic Mobility Convention”.  

Implementation of SDG4-Education 2030

Member States endorsed UNESCO’s role in the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030. This includes leading and coordinating the Education 2030 and acting as the focal point for education within the overall 2030 Agenda.

UNESCO has been entrusted with the challenging task of leading and coordinating SDG 4-Education 2030 by: undertaking advocacy to sustain political commitment; facilitating policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and standard setting; monitoring progress towards the education targets; convening global, regional and national stakeholders to guide the implementation of the agenda; and functioning as a focal point for education within the overall SDG coordination architecture.

The General Conference also emphasizing the importance of human rights education and training, particularly in relation to target 4.7, for the fulfilment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 

The Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021

The Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021 was approved at the Plenary, ensuring that UNESCO fully aligns its programme and resources to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal 4 and other education-related targets. This will be driven by two-pronged approach, structured around two Main Lines of Action:

  1. Supporting the implementation of SDG 4-Education 2030 at country level, through eight Expected Results; and
  2. Leading the coordination and review/monitoring of SDG 4-Education 2030 at global and regional levels, through two Expected Results.  

In operationalizing Main Lines of Action 1 and its eight Expected Results, UNESCO, including its education-related Institutes, will seek to support Member States in making progress towards the seven targets and two means of implementation of SDG 4 and five other SDGs. Actions under these Expected Results will be contextualized to be responsive and attentive to distinct regional needs and local realities.

UNESCO will coordinate and review/monitor SDG 4-Education 2030 at global and regional levels. Under Main Lines of Action 2, work will focus on two areas.

First, it will facilitate global and regional coordination within the context of the evolving global governance structure of education, build and strengthen partnerships with UN agencies, international organizations and civil society, conduct high-level advocacy for Education 2030 and report on SDG 4 as part of UN SDG reporting.

Second, it will ensure a global Education 2030 observatory function through research and foresight to guide global policy and inform dialogue on the future of education, as well as a review and monitoring function for the implementation of SDG 4-Education 2030. This will contribute to the overall attainment of SDG 4 and SDG 17.

“Academic Mobility Convention”

Member States approved the continuation of the preparation of UNESCO’s Academic Mobility Convention (Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications) and its possible adoption at the next session, in November 2019. This future Convention aims to provide a global framework of universal principles and rules for the recognition of higher education titles, diplomas and certificates. The General Conference reaffirmed that a global convention will improve academic mobility, enhance international cooperation in higher education, and will represent a significant step forward towards global academic mobility and trust in higher education systems. 

The future Convention will be a major step forward for the rights of students to have their higher education qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner by national competent authorities. It will also strengthen cooperation in higher education and enhance trust in higher education systems in view of ensuring quality in education, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Find out more about the 39th General Conference
  • Watch UNESCO’s new animation explaining the ten targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 here.
Categories: News

Migration: evidence for policy making

Europaid - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 15:28
Categories: News

Guatemala donates to UNESCO a sculpture of Guatemalan Nobel Laureate in Literature, Miguel Ángel Asturias

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:30
dg-bust-guatemala-mins-clt.jpg © UNESCO

In the framework of his visit to the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, the Minister of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, José Luis Chea, met today with the Director-General Irina Bokova, to present UNESCO with a bust of the late writer and Nobel Literature Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias, which is the work of the artist, Manolo Gallardo.

Minister Chea expressed the gratitude of Guatemala for the work accomplished by the Director-General during her eight years at the head of the Organization and reaffirmed the firm commitment of his country to continue promoting the close cooperation between Guatemala and UNESCO. The bust was donated by the G & T Foundation and delivered by its Executive Director, Mariflor Solís.

On this occasion, Minister Chea recalled that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Asturias, which he described as a "universal man and precursor of magical realism", who had sustained a strong relationship with Paris. The writer donated his personal library to the National Library of France and his remains rest in the Père Lachaise cemetery in the French capital.

Thanking the Minister for the donation, Director-General Irina Bokova described the bust as a symbol of the close ties that unite Guatemala and UNESCO, as well as the work of an artist and an intellectual committed to humanistic values.

During the bilateral meeting, the Minister mentioned the intention to inscribe the ruins of El Mirador on the World Heritage List, and the new findings in the Tak'alik Ab'aj National Park (inscribed in the tentative list of Guatemala since 2013). The Ambassador Permanent Delegate of Guatemala to UNESCO, Marco Tulio Chicas Sosa, highlighted the support provided by UNESCO in the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods, through training provided to the country. He confirmed his county’s support to UNESCO and Guatemala's commitment to cultural diplomacy. For her part, the Director-General highlighted the active participation of Guatemala in the work of UNESCO and thanked the country for its efforts after ratifying the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alicia Castillo Sosa and the Vice Minister of Sports, Juan Alberto Monzón, were also present at the ceremony to donate the bust to UNESCO.

Categories: News

UNESCO more necessary than ever, declares Audrey Azoulay

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:55
dg_azoulay_investiture_688px.png Audrey Azoulay, nouvelle Directrice générale de l'UNESCO© UNESCO/N. Houguenade 13 November 2017

Audrey Azoulay was sworn in as the new Director-General of UNESCO on Monday before the 39th session of the General Conference. Invoking the challenges facing the Organization, she focused on the pertinence of UNESCO’s mandate in her investiture speech.

“Despite many limits and constraints, UNESCO has been able to demonstrate throughout its history a real capacity to bring creative responses to the challenges of the times,” said Ms Azoulay, after the Chairperson of the Organization’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs, the outgoing Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and representatives of Member States congratulated her on her appointment.

Ms Azoulay highlighted the challenges posed to the world today by environmental degradation, terrorism, attempts to discredit scientific findings, attacks on cultural diversity, the oppression(of wkmEn and the massive displacement of populations, saying, “I believe in the need for concerted strategies in the framework of multilateralism to face these challenges today and tomorrow. This is what we achieved collectively with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement,” she added.

Audrey Azoulay © UNESCO/C.Alix

The new Director-General, who was named by the General Conference on 10 November, also spoke of the financial and political difficulties of the Organization: “In this time of crisis, I am convinced that it is more necessary than ever to be committed to UNESCO, to support it, to seek to strengthen and reform it, rather than make it more fragile.”

“We are facing a moment of truth in which we become collectively liable at a time when the need for UNESCO is greater than ever. Together, we must take the right decisions to take it into the 21st century and shape it […] The dream of UNESCO’s founders has yet to come true, and we owe it to the young to maintain that ambition, with them and for them,” she concluded.

Audrey Azoulay is the 11 Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman in that position. She will take office on 15 November. 


Images for TV (b-roll)

Categories: News

Five Laureates Named for 2018 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:59
loreal-laureates_2017_large.jpg © reserved 13 November 2017

Paris, 13 November–The L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have selected five outstanding women scientists from Argentina, Canada, China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom who will receive the 2018 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards in life sciences on 22 March  2018 in Paris.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards recognizes women who are still under-represented in various fields, including science, where the glass ceiling remains a reality. Nowadays, barely 28% of researchers are women. All of this year’s nine scientific Nobel Prizes were awarded to men and, since the creation of the Nobel Prizes in science, fewer than 3% have been awarded to women.

Yet, numerous women are making major contributions to science. For almost 20 years, the L’Oréal Foundation, in partnership with UNESCO, has celebrated five exceptional female researchers every year and has been committed to promoting equality between women and men in science.

The five women scientists celebrated by the 2018 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards were selected by an independent jury of ten high-profile members of the international science community, chaired this year by Professor Elizabeth H. Blackburn, laureate of the 2008 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award and of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

Each Laureate will receive €100,000 in prize money for her outstanding contribution to advances in science. They will be celebrated in a ceremony to be held on 22 March 2018 in Paris, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme.

Africa and Arab States
Professor Heather ZAR , South Africa,

Professor, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital  and Director Medical Research Council Unit (MRC), University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA.

Medicine and Health Sciences/Pediatrics
“For establishing a cutting-edge research program in pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma, saving the lives of many children worldwide.”

Professor Meemann CHANG,

Professor, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, CHINA

Biological Sciences/Paleontology
“For her pioneering work on fossil records leading to insights on how aquatic vertebrates adapted to life on land.”

Professor Caroline DEAN,
United Kingdom

Professor, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park

Biological Sciences/Molecular biology
“For her groundbreaking research on how plants adapt to their surroundings and climate change, leading to new ways for crop improvement.”

Latin America
Professor Amy T. AUSTIN,

Professor, Agricultural Plant Physiology and Ecology Research Institute (IFEVA) - CONICET, School of Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires

Ecology and Environmental sciences
“For her remarkable contributions to understanding terrestrial ecosystem ecology in natural and human-modified landscapes.”

North America
Professor Janet ROSSANT,

Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, University Professor, University of Toronto, President, Gairdner Foundation (CANADA),

Biological Sciences/Developmental biology
“For her outstanding research that helped us to better understand how tissues and organs are formed in the developing embryo.”

Media Contacts:

Categories: News

UNESCO Member States adopt Declaration of Ethical Principles in relation to Climate Change

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:09
shutterstock_romolo_tavani_infocus.jpg © / Romolo Tavani 13 November 2017

UNESCO has just announced the adoption of a global Declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, at the 39th Session of its General Conference (Paris, 30 October to 14 November). UNESCO’s 195 Member States have solemnly proclaimed a broad consensus on the text, as a recognition that, at its core, climate change is an ethical issue.

UNESCO’s Declaration aims to help governments, businesses, and civil society mobilize people around shared values on climate change. lt sounds the alarm that, unless ethical principles become the basis of climate action, both climate change and responses to it could create unacceptable damage and injustice.

Among other ethical principles, a science-based approach to decision-making about climate is crucial. "Decision-making based on science is critically important for meeting the mitigation and adaptation challenges of a rapidly changing climate. Decisions should be based on the best available knowledge from the natural and social sciences," the text says.

At every level, climate action requires a responsible approach. This could improve decision-making, by framing interests in terms of shared values. In addition, UNESCO’s Declaration advocates for sustainability, solidarity and the prevention of harm.

Assisted by leading experts, including negotiators of multilateral climate treaties, scientists from the lntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ethicists, UNESCO has for the past ten years facilitated discussion on ethics of climate change, examining how to promote fairness and address climate change at the same time.

The process was initiated in 2008, when the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology ("COMEST"), a global advisory body of experts, started framing the issues and urging policy responses.

In 2015, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, followed by the Paris Climate Agreement, marked a turning point in the history of international cooperation on climate change
Taken together, these embody a new global agenda for poverty reduction, human rights and dignity, social inclusion and dialogue, and more sustainable paths to development. This agenda fully includes - in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 – the idea that everyone should address the challenge of climate change urgently.

The Gxucutive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, has been crystal clear: "Implementing the Paris Agreement requires governments - not only national governments - governments at all levels, civil society, scientists, private sector - everybody needs to be mobilized."

In a show of support for this UNESCO Declaration, government representatives have asked UNESCO to disseminate and promote the Declaration. UNESCO will continue to be fully engaged in this endeavour.

Categories: News

UNESCO releases new publication: Survey on Privacy in Media and Information Literacy with Youth Perspectives

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 15:52
news_131117_privacy_survey.jpg © UNESCO 13 November 2017The Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 was the launching pad for a new comprehensive UNESCO study that explores MIL as defense of one’s privacy.

The publication, “Survey on Privacy in Media and Information Literacy with Youth Perspectives, combines two studies. One addresses how MIL providers globally - schools, teachers, practitioners, experts etc. - are responding to the need for people to comprehend the privacy of both themselves and others.

The second study investigates young people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to privacy and online safety, and how they perceive MIL in relation to this.

The 1735 youth surveyed do not portray passivity or obliviousness in their online activities. On the contrary - most of them indicated that privacy is important to them.

Over 90% place heavy emphasis on self-empowerment as the most effective means of staying safe online through the acquisition of information, media and technological competencies.

Their responses to questions like “My Government has the right to know all personal information about me if it will keep me safe online” or “The Internet should be an open space free from control by government or big business” underscore  the need for critically engagement by youth themselves. 

The research also reveals that MIL education programmes of the 231 providers surveyed addressed minimally privacy.  When addressed, it is most often covered as a minor topic absorbed into other MIL topics and not as a standalone topic or module. 

This research is published as part of the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom that began in 2009 and that explores the changing legal and policy issues of the Internet.

The UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) and UNESCO conducted one aspect of the research, with the other aspect was implemented by UNESCO.  

Authors of the publication are Sherri Hope Culver, Director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CMIL) at Temple University, USA and Alton Grizzle, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist.

Mr Joe Cannataci, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, in the Foreword noted, this “is a work of enormous scope and ambition, with the result that it has made me realize how important it is to be sustained and built upon for the next several decades.”

He continued, “ …the next new projects we should pursue is to research and devise privacy-rich MIL curricula for all children and youth… starting points to be considered should include the conceptual and development frameworks for MIL so usefully outlined in Chapter 1.”

The study also theorizes how privacy and MIL relate to the context of sustainable development.  It illuminates the social, economic and environmental implications for both individuals and organizations alike.

In addition, the study provides recommendations on building privacy literacy via MIL. This includes development of multimedia strategies, online and offline, to reach young people in rural and remote communities with interventions like MIL MOOCs. It also urges stronger proliferation of MIL training, more transparency from both government and business on how they access and use peoples’ personal information, and the inclusion of youth in the entire process as actors and not only as beneficiaries or part of the problem.  


Contact: Alton Grizzle,

Categories: News

Science for Peace Declaration calls for responsible use of knowledge for peaceful development

Unesco Most Programme - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 13:38
focus_world_science_forum_2017.jpg 11 November 2017

The 2017 World Science Forum brought together more than 3,000 delegates from 120 countries to discuss critical global issues and the potential of science to address them holistically on 07-10 November in Jordan. The concluding Science for Peace Declaration represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

The Science for Peace Declaration is a call for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and a reflection on “the role of science in building a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.”

The Declaration defines peace as “far more than the absence of conflict. It implies an absence of fear and the full realization of a whole and healthy life. It encompasses an equal access to the resources and potential of our planet.”

It is built on five principles:

  • The equitable and sustainable management of natural resources is essential to avoid conflicts and to promote peaceful development
  • The preservation of scientific capacities, threatened by global migration trends, is key to peace, sustainable development, resilience and recovery
  • Diversity is a key enabler of excellence in science, technology and innovation and is essential to optimise its relevance and impact
  • A commitment to the fulfilment of the universal right to science, and
  • Support of the launch of a regional science forum for the Arab World

The Declaration, adopted by the representatives of the scientific community, policy-makers, industry and civil society together, is a commitment to the responsible and ethical use of scientific knowledge in addressing the great challenges facing humankind.

The 8th World Science Forum was organized under the leadership of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, together with the founding organisations: UNESCO, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the International Council for Science (ICSU). Organized every two years, the World Science Forum is one of the leading events of global science policy today. It serves as a platform for dialogue between the scientific community, policy-makers and representatives of industry and the civil society on emerging issues affecting science, policy and society, to set out the common tasks ahead in tackling these issues.



Categories: News

Director-General receives the National Order of Merit "Don José Falcón" from Paraguay

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 17:29
dg-paraguay-national-order.jpg © UNESCO

Within framework of his visit to the 39th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Eladio Loizaga, handed today to the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, the National Order of Merit “Don José Falcón”. The Director-General received this distinction in recognition of “her contribution, her great work and her continuous efforts in favor of the cooperation between the Republic of Paraguay and the Organization."

During the award ceremony, held on 10 November at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Foreign Minister Loizaga underscored that the commitment and “sincere friendship that the Director-General has forged with Paraguay over the years”, are reflected in the numerous common initiatives and in the official visit the Director-General undertook to Paraguay in June 2016.

In turn, the Director-General highlighted the active participation of Paraguay in the Executive Board of UNESCO, of which it is a member since 2015 and until 2019. 

In particular, the Director-General referred to the "the collaboration with the three branches of Paraguay, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, to advance freedom of expression and the safety of journalists", and their "active participation in UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, through the International Center of Hydro-informatics for the integrated management of water resources created within the ITAIPÚ Binacional".

At the award ceremony, in addition to the Minister, his secretary, Carlos Ruckelshaussen, the head of international visits of the Ministry, Américo Cajes, and Leticia Casati, Minister and Chargée d'Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Delegation of Paraguay to UNESCO and Sila Estigarribia, Deputy Permanent Delegate of Paraguay, were also present.

Categories: News

Audrey Azoulay named as Director-General of UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 15:06
10 November 2017

The General Conference of UNESCO today named Audrey Azoulay (France) to the post of Director-General of the Organization. Ms Azoulay was nominated on 13 October to take the place of outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) by UNESCO’s Executive Board.

The President of the 39th session of the General Conference Zohour Alaoui, congratulated the new Director-General at the end of a vote that endorsed the choice of the Executive Board.

“I now think of all the people I met in recent months, or had met in my various professional capacities, who have great expectations from UNESCO,” declared Ms Azoulay to the General Conference. “I think of UNESCO’s mandate, which is strikingly modern. I think of all of you who are aware of the difficulties of the Organization but who know that it is irreplaceable, that it is essential, in facing current global challenges and who aspire to the unity and serenity necessary to let it exercise its mandate to best effect.”

Born in 1972, Ms Azoulay was France’s Minister of Culture and Communication from February 2016 to May 2017. She has occupied senior positions in France’s public broadcasting sector and then served as rapporteur to France’s public auditing authority, the Cour des compte, and as a European Commission legislative expert on issues of culture and the media.

Ms Azoulay served France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC), first as Deputy Audiovisual Director, then as Director of Financial and Legal Affairs, and finally as Deputy Director-General. She is a graduate of the Ecole National d’Administration and the Paris Institut d’études politiques. Ms Azoulay also holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Lancaster (UK).

Ms Azoulay is the 11th Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman to occupy this position. She will take office on 15 November.



Categories: News

UNESCO and Sabrina Ho Sign Strategic Partnership to Support Youth Cultural Entrepreneurs

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 14:39
signing_of_a_partnership_framework_agreement_with_sabrina_ho_.jpg Signing of a Partnership Framework Agreement with Sabrina Ho© UNESCO 10 November 2017

On 9 November 2017, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Sabrina Ho, a rising young cultural entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Macau and Hong Kong, signed a strategic partnership agreement to empower young women and men by investing in their creative potential.

 The Director-General described the agreement as an important step forward, saying, “The cultural and creative industries employ more young people than any other sector. Supporting young artists and cultural entrepreneurs is one of the best investments we can make, for our societies and for our future.”

 As UNESCO’s youngest strategic partner, Ms Ho said, “I firmly believe partnership is the new leadership and will, to the best of my abilities, mobilize others to invest in our future by taking on innovative educational approaches to introduce sustainable opportunities for young creative entrepreneurs.”

 The partnership will support UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), which, since 2010, has provided nearly $7 million in funding to projects that support the emergence of dynamic cultural industries in developing countries. In line with both parties’ shared commitment to the advancement and empowerment of youth, the partnership will sponsor IFCD projects that build the entrepreneurial skills of young creators and entrepreneurs through innovative training and education initiatives, support and nurture new creative start-ups and businesses, and foster access to markets for young entrepreneurs in the cultural sector.

 As a young cultural entrepreneur herself, Ms Ho’s partnership with UNESCO is the natural outgrowth of years of advocacy for the arts, especially on behalf of Macau’s emerging cultural sector and her involvement with museums around the world.

 In 2015, Ms Ho launched Chiu Yeng Culture Limited to promote artistic and cultural developments of Macau, to fortify synergies in the local community and create a sustainable employment environment for young local artists and creative entrepreneurs. Youth are equally fundamental to UNESCO’s programmes and activities, including those at the nexus of culture and sustainable development. With more than 73 million young people currently facing unemployment, UNESCO and Ms Ho are united of the belief that expanding access to the cultural industries and supporting young cultural entrepreneurs is more vital than ever.


Categories: News

GCCA+ work in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Europaid - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 14:11
Categories: News

New online portal promotes tsunami awareness and education in the Caribbean

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:09

The Caribbean and neighboring regions will get a brand new online portal aimed at promoting greater awareness and understanding of tsunamis and other coastal hazards.

The portal developed by the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) to support its initiatives will ensure that all persons in vulnerable coastal communities are prepared and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to a tsuNami ranother coastal hazard. The overall objective is to inform communities and citizens in order to save lives and mitigate socio-economic impacts of destructive ocean hazards.

Officially hosted by the Government of Barbados, the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center is an initiative of the Caribbean Member States, under the auspices and coordination of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS).

The new CTIC website will be hosted and maintained by UNESCO’s IOC, connecting users to IOC’s global expert network to complement the focus on tsunami hazards.

The CTIC website joins two other regional and international online portals created to promote tsunami preparedness and education:

Visit the new website here:

For more information, please contact:

Alison Brome (a.brome(at)

Categories: News

At UNESCO, Experts Urge Improved Protection for Artists and their Freedoms

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 16:36
creativity_unesco_2_688px.jpg © UNESCO 09 November 2017

In 2016, 1,028 artists in 78 countries around the world came under attack or had their rights violated, according to Freemuse. The nongovernmental organization says this figure represents a two-fold increase compared to 2015 in violations that include harassment and persecution, censorship, imprisonment and even murder.

Artists clearly need and deserve better protection, experts who examined threats to artistic freedoms and ways to secure them at an international panel debate at UNESCO Headquarters on 8 November agreed.

“The challenge is to get verified information and data, and then translate that into positive action on the ground, through national policies and laws protecting artists’ rights”, said Srirak Plipat, Executive Director of Freemuse. “Supporting artists at risk by providing safe havens outside of their counties is very helpful, but we need to address the root causes of attacks on artists. Creating spaces of dialogue between governments and civil society is key”, he added.

Artistic freedom is essential not only to let artists and cultural professionals do their work, but also to the wellbeing and development of people and societies. Yet artists are being silenced and audiences threatened.

In a 2016 survey in Sweden sent to over 6,000 writers and visual artists, one in three respondents reported having come under threat, most often through social media channels.  “Even though Sweden has a strong legislative framework and an Action Plan in place protecting artistic expression, these threats often translate into self-censorship by artists,” said Elin Rosenström of the Swedish Arts Council.

Katja Holm, actress, and Vice-President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), emphasized the importance of empowering artists and civil society.  “To monitor violations and get the stories out, the artists themselves need to understand their rights. We also need to better explain why these rights are crucial to our democratic systems”, she said.

A key message from the debate is that strategic partnerships are needed to bring about change. Artists and international artist associations can raise awareness and advocate, but they need governments and the international community to enforce laws and facilitate the movement of artists between countries.

“We need a more systematic, inclusive and international approach to this issue, with all stakeholders involved,” explained Diana Ramarohetra, Artwatch Africa Project Manager of the Arterial Network. “We are now including lawyers and the judiciary in our work. Artists need to be a part of the process, but they need help to organize and engage, especially those from the Global South.”

Much like the frameworks in place to protect journalists, the panel considered development of a UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Artists as a possible way forward.  While UNESCO, the European Union and the UN Human Rights Council, among others, work within their respective mandates to secure the right to artistic expression, guaranteed by international human rights conventions, more monitoring and better policies are needed to bring about change.  An important contribution is UNESCO’s Global Report “Re-Shaping Cultural Policies” on the implementation of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression. The 2018 edition of the Report, to be launched on 14 December next at UNESCO, will include an up-to-date analysis of policies and measures to support artistic freedom.

The international experts’ panel was organized by UNESCO with Denmark’s, Finland’s, Norway’s, and Sweden’s Permanent Delegations to the Organization within the framework of the 39th session of UNESCO’s General Conference

Categories: News

Fighting for Breath

Europaid - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:07
Categories: News

Launch of ew w%b qeries “13.11” on migration in Europe

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:55
1311_web_series_800px.jpg © UNESCO

“13.11” is a six-episode web series dedicated to six life stories of migration rooted within the background of a changing Europe, which goes live on 13 November 2017. The episodes are set in six European cities: Toulouse, Seville, Riga, Hamburg, Lisbon and Bologna on 13 November 2015, the day of the terrorist attack in Paris. “13.11” tells everyday life stories of people linked one to another, no matter their ethnicities and backgrounds.

Themes of our times like migration, development, global interdependence and inequalities between populations are depicted through the feelings of the main characters, highlighting the importance of the “human face” of migration.

On 13 November 2015, Paris experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent European history. That moment created a shift in perception of the central issues surrounding the migration debate from welcome and integration issues towards control and security issues. Out of this context, the web series “13.11”, directed by six directors, was born.

This new web series produced by EleNfant Film is part of the AMITIE Code project developed under the leadership of the City of Bologna, lead city of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), with the support of UNESCO’s International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR.

The AMITIE Code (Awareness raising on MIgrations, developmenT and human rIghts through local partnErships) is a project which aims to raise awareness among citizens on migration, development and human rights and to train key actors on these issues, including teachers and civil servants working in local authorities.

ECCAR is the regional chapter of the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR, launched by UNESCO in 2004. ICCAR promotes international cooperation between cities to strengthen advocacy for global solidarity and collaboration, and promote inclusive urban development free from all forms of discrimination, by sharing good practices, knowledge and expertise, and by advancing joint action through the development of participatory city-level policies and initiatives.

You can access the series here

Watch the teaser (English subtitles)

Contact: Linda Tinio, l.tinio(at)

Categories: News