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Maria Francesca Merloni of Italy becomes UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Creative Cities

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:36
03 October 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will name Italian poet Maria Francesca Merloni as a Goodwill Ambassador for Creative Cities in a ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters on 4 October at 6.30 pm.

Ms Merloni has been chosen for this role in recognition of her work to promote creativity as a strategic factor and catalyst for sustainable urban development, her engagement with UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network and her dedication to the ideals and objectives of UNESCO.

Maria Francesca Merloni has a degree in political science from the Universitat Libera Universita Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli (Italy). She has published numerous collections of poetry including Opera, Passo delle Costellazioni and Il Mediterraneo. She is also wrote several monologues that have been adapted to the theatre.

Ms Merloni has also been artistic Director of Poiesis, an artistic festival organized in the Marches region (Italy), which combines music, poetry, cinema and philosophy. She also supported the Italian city of Fabriano in joining UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, of which it became a member in 2013.

As Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Merloni will promote UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN), a platform for cooperation with and among cities that place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans. The network currently brings together 116 cities in all parts of the world.

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of advocates who promote the ideals of the organization. They extend and amplify UNESCO's work and mission and have generously accepted to use their talent and status to help focus the world's attention on the work of UNESCO.


Journalists wishing to attend the ceremony are requested to contact Djibril Kebe at UNESCO’s Media Section: +33(0)145681741

Categories: News

WomEng in South Africa is cracking the code to get girls into engineering studies

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 14:27
womeng-stem-south-africa-c-unesco.jpg © UNESCO 03 October 2017

Limited female role models, misconceptions about engineering studies and careers, and gender bias and stereotypes are some of the factors that are keeping girls and women out of engineering studies and careers. Why should we care?

“Only 11% of all engineers globally are female,” shares Naadiya Moosajee, co-founder of WomEng, a South African social enterprise now operating in 13 countries. “Engineers design our world and our society, and if we don’t have women at the design table, we exclude 50% of the population.”

Education pathways for girls and women into engineering are extremely limited, finds UNESCO’s recent report, Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in STEM. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics, only 8 percent of all students in engineering, manufacturing and construction globally are women.

Ensuring girls and women have equal access to STEM careers is an imperative from human rights, scientific and development perspectives. “It’s not just about the SDGs or social development, but it’s also an economic imperative to have more women going into engineering and technology,” explains Naadiya. Gender equality in STEM will ensure that boys and girls, men and women, will be able to contribute to, and benefit equally from, the benefits and assets associated with STEM.

The next generation of women engineers

WomEng has been working since 2006 to develop the next generation of women engineers and leaders. “I’m an engineer and so is my cofounder, Hema. For us, it’s deeply personal. We started this organization because our classes didn’t have anyone that looked like us,” says Naadiya. “We decided to do something to change the status quo.”

Over the last 12 years, WomEng has been “igniting the engineering flame” with female high students through the GirlEng programme which connects girls to mentors, role models, and practical exposure to engineering projects and careers. After ten years, “we had over 10,000 girls in the programme, and we were able to change mindsets around engineering and technology,” explains Naadiya, “In South Africa, we’ve seen shifts in the number of students applying to study engineering. Our classes have gone from 10% to 30-40% [female], depending on the engineering field. That’s in large part due to our GirlEng programme.”

GirlEng’s signature item is the pink hard hat. In GirlEng workshops, participants transform the hard hat, sharing what they hope to bring to the engineering sector and the world. “The whole symbolic meaning around this pink hard hat is that it’s universal – any person can become an engineer. It travels around the world…we also give the hard hats to the girls to go through this personal development exercise to show that everybody is different and engineering needs different people to create innovative solutions to meet the SDGs,” explains Naadiya.

UNESCO is collaborating with WomEng on the One Million Girls in STEM campaign, launched together at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March this year. The campaign aims to reach 1 million girls through STEM education and awareness initiatives in at least 10 different countries over the next 10 years. WomEng was also recently awarded the UNESCO/China Special Mention for Promoting Girls’ Education and Priority Africa at the BRICS Summit in China.

When asked what she would say to a six year old girl thinking about a future in engineering, Naadiya concluded, “I would say go and do [it], because that’s where the future lies and we need more engineers to create a better world… I would say go for it, because the sky isn’t even the limit because as an engineer you get to build rocketships.”

Categories: News

IPDCtalks mark the second International Day for Universal Access to Information

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:54
news_031017_ipdctalks.jpg © UNESCO 03 October 2017On 28 September, and for the second consecutive year, UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) held the IPDCtalks: Powering sustainable development with access to information, an event marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

Streamed live across the world, the IPDCtalks event at UNESCO HQ in Paris highlighted the essential role that access to information plays in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In parallel, IPDCtalks took place in ten other cities around the world.

The HQ event gathered local and global stakeholders, public leaders, community front-runners, leading investigative journalists, media experts and other intellectuals. In rapid-fire 10 minute talks, the speakers told stories to illustrate a wide range of topics around access to information, media development and ICTs and their essential role in achieving different SDGs.

Yemen’s first female Minister of Information, Nadia Al-Sakkaf spoke about her experience in using social media to keep her country’s citizens informed when mainstream media was seized in 2015. Gwen Lister, founder of the Namibian newspaper highlighted the enduring credibility of independent journalism as a contribution to development.

Many speakers stressed the importance of access to information in context. Ms Al-Sakkaf summed up the insight: “Without human rights and gender equality, development cannot be inclusive.”.

An outstanding music performance by sign-language artist Signmark exemplified how access to information is essential for those who cannot hear or speak to participate in society. Signmark explained to the audience that he perceived himself as being part of a linguistic minority, rather than being disabled.

He argued that society should not patronize the ‘disabled’, but rather focus on fostering their integration through access to information.  “The reason I need an interpreter here is because the audience cannot speak my language,” he noted.

Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, focused on how press freedom and the public right to know are key for reducing inequalities, while Ms Natalia Soebagjo, Chair of Transparency International’s Executive Board described how corruption and bribery undermine the progress of the SDGs, hence the need for media and transparency.

The IPDCtalks were actively promoted during the live TV show ‘Democracy Now!’, and some of the  IPDCtalks speakers were guests at the live TV show. Democracy Now! is a news hour broadcast on over 1500 public television and radio stations in the US and around the world with an approximate audience of 1 million people per TV show.

All speakers recorded a powerful video message during the event. Watch Amy Goodman’s video message on how media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth here:

Other video messages and full videos of the Talks will be soon available on the IPDCtalks-website:

More than 350 people participated the inspiring Talks in Paris. Amongst the audience were UNESCO Member State delegations, media experts, representatives of international organizations, NGOs and many students.

On social media, the IPDCtalks drew worldwide attention as the hashtag #IPDCtalks was trending topic on Twitter in more than nine countries. The hashtag had an estimated reach of over 8,4 million people..

But the IPDCtalks 2017 were not only held in Paris. The event also took place in ten other countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle-East region and Asia and the Pacific, with important audiences as well as media and social media attention in every location.

Overall, the IPDCtalks managed to raise visibility and awareness among Member States, media organizations, NGOs and the general public on the vital role that access to information plays in achieving each of the SDGs.

The organization of the IPDCtalks was possible thanks to the support received from The Netherlands, The Paris event was also supported by Finland and Lithuania, while the regional events received financial support from local donors and sponsors.

Categories: News

Teaching in Freedom, theme of 2017 World Teachers’ Day

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:28
wtd-2017-c-cdominic_chavez-world_bank.jpg © Credit: Dominic Chavez/World Bank 03 October 2017

On World Teachers’ Day, celebrated yearly on 5 October, UNESCO will focus on the professors, teachers, researchers and others who otherwise provide educational services to students at institutions of higher learning. The work of these educators will be the the subject of a daylong series of seminars at the Organization’s Headquarters (Room II, starting at 10 am).

Twenty years after the adoption of the 1997 Recommendations concerning the status of higher education personnel, UNESCO will bring together teachers, trainers, decision-makers, experts and researchers from all over the world to examine the higher education landscape worldwide.

As well as taking stock of higher education reforms around the world, the conference will feature two panel discussions: on challenges in academic freedom and institutional autonomy (11.15am to 12.30 pm) and higher education’s responses to new demands for quality, inclusion and equity (2-4.30 pm).

“Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers” is the theme of this year’s World Teachers' Day, celebrated around the world since 1994. The empowerment of teachers emerged as a priority when the United Nations adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG4).

It requires teachers to enjoy professional independence, freedom and the tools needed to deliver quality education, which must take into account learners’ circumstances, needs and expectations.

But crises, conflicts, and insecurity, alongside rising intolerance and discrimination, as well as budgetary restrictions are some of the factors affecting teachers in much of the world, undermining both their freedom and empowerment.

The international community undertook to provide universal primary and secondary education by 2030, and it is estimated that countries will need to recruit 68,8 million primary and secondary education teachers to make this target (source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics).



Journalists wishing to attend the ceremony are requested to contact Djibril Kebe at UNESCO’s Media Section: +33(0)145681741




Categories: News

UNESCO handbook encouraging media reflection on terrorism coverage presented in the Arab world

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:13
news_031017_tunis.jpg UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue at the launch of the Arabic translation of Terrorism and the Media: A Handbook for Journalists© UNESCO 03 October 2017

"It is thought as a conversation from a media professional to another," said Professor Jean-Paul Marthoz, author of the UNESCO publication Terrorism and the Media: A Handbook for Journalists, at the launch of its Arabic translation on Monday 25 september in Tunis. He added that the handbook is based on international standards, and that "to be effective reporters need to localize it."

The presentation, attended by media professionals and representatives from the civil society, was at the presence of the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and information Mr Frank La Rue. It was co-organised with the Tunisian union of journalists SNJT, the Tunisian audio-visual regulator HAICA and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), and with the support of Sweden.

The importance of having a professional reflection on «the journalist's will to inform and the need to protect» was mentioned by Professor Marthoz. He said that media freedom is the best defense against terrorism, and observed that “freedom of expression unfortunately is in retreat around the world, partially because of terrorism.”

Mr La Rue stressed the need of protecting victims' dignity, as well as the importance of journalists' safety. While referring to the emergency regulations often adopted after terrorist attacks and which can impact on media freedom, he said that «national security is a matter of: i) protection of citizens, ii) protection of the institutions, and iii) protection of democracy.»

The UNESCO Assistant director-General recalled that freedom of expression is in the UN Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism. He also observed that terrorism exists in every region of the world, including in too many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, hence, the need to make available to an Arab-speaking audience a tool conceived to accompany the work of journalists when dealing with terrorism.

The essential role of images while covering terrorist acts was mentioned by Mr Manoubi Marrouki, member of the newly created Tunisian Press Council. He also stressed the importance of an effective media self-regulation to prevent media falling into over-sensationalist or unethical coverage. Nouri Lajmi, President of the HAICA, mentioned how a monitoring work observing media coverage can help in raising awareness on deontological issues while reporting on terrorist acts.

Moderated by Mr Zied Dabbar, member of the SNJT's secretariat and IFJ's trainer on security of journalists, the debate had also the interventions of DCAF's project coordinator Mr Sami Badreddine, the head of the RSF office for Northern Africa Ms Yasmine Kacha, as well as of Tunisian media professionals.

Developed specifically for reporters, media professionals and journalism students, the Terrorism and the Media handbook (downloadable in Arabic at aims to encourage a reflection about some of the ethical and journalistic challenges they must navigate in this field of coverage. Topics covered include the journalistic “framing” of terrorism; the balance between freedom, security and responsibility; the handling of figures, images and words; the security of journalists; and relations with victims. 

Categories: News

Samoa moves forward with ST & I Policy

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 10:22
samoa_sti_workshop_2017.jpg © UNESCO 03 October 2017 The National University of Samoa together with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has successfully completed a workshop on developing the Policy on Science Technology and Innovation (ST&I) for Samoa.

Results of the workshop included the formation of a cross-ministerial and cross-sectoral working group which will draft the policy; the identification of key issues to be addressed in a policy; a framework to support further consultations and drafting; and an increased awareness of the benefits of a coordinated approach to ST&I across Samoa’s sectors amongst key stakeholders.

The workshop was facilitated by Professor Stephen Hill, Professor Emeritus of Wollongong University, with the active participation of ST & I experts in Samoa’s Ministries, State-Owned Enterprises and the Private Sector. These experts are engaged in Science, technology and innovation activities every day, but they are not labeled as such.

 This workshop provided a fresh lens to view the activities that the whole of Government and the Private sector are engaged in from a ST & I perspective to make links with the Strategy for Development of Samoa, the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as synergies that enhance economic growth and the livelihoods of our people.

The workshop that was held on the 26 to 27 September 2017 was supported by the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States through its Natural Sciences programme. As the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO assists its Member States in formulating their ST &I policies, strategies and plans as well as in the reform of their science systems, by bringing to light policy options for the governance of science systems in new contexts and supporting participatory policy formulation and/or reviews to improve science management at the national level.

The workshop was officially opened by the Acting Prime Minister  and Acting Minister of Education, Afioga Tialavea Fea Leniu Tionisio Hunt.


Categories: News

Setting ground for cooperation with Women for Africa Foundation

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:51
dg-loc.jpg © UNESCO

On 2 October 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, signed a Letter of Cooperation with Ms María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, former Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and founder of the Fundación Mujeres por Africa, a private entity created in February 2012 that aims to promote women’s empowerment and leadership in Africa.

This Letter of Cooperation sets the ground for cooperation on initiatives in the areas of education, scientific research and women’s leadership, with a focus on empowerment and the sharing of innovative approaches. The Foundation is directly aligned with UNESCO’s two global priorities, Africa and Gender Equality.

The Foundation’s Advisory Board includes the President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; the Vice President of the Gambia Isatou Njie-Saidy and the first president of the Pan-African Parliament, Gertrude Mongella, among others.

The Director-General thanked Ms de la Vega for her initiative, which builds on a longstanding commitment to advance gender equality.

Categories: News

UNESCO is seeking nominations for UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2018

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 16:44
guillermo_cano_688.jpg © Marisol Cano Busquets 02 October 2017UNESCO invites the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, as well as international and regional professional non-governmental organizations, active in the field of press freedom, to nominate candidates for next year’s UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

This Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, in 1997, in honour of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. Its purpose is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved.

Awarded annually, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (3 May), the Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with the sum of US$25,000.

The Prize is funded by the Cano Foundation (Colombia) and the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland).


How to submit your nomination:

Nominations for the Prize should be submitted by filling out the form in English or French and sending it before 15 February 2018 by post or by email to:

Ms Sylvie Coudray
Section for Freedom of Expression
Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Communication and Information Sector
7 Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris


E-mail:'; // -->

Categories: News

Job opportunities in EU delegations

Europaid - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 16:15
Categories: News

Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan named UNESCO Special Envoy for Science for Peace

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 14:38
02 October 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will name Princess Sumaya bint Hassan of Jordan as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Science for Peace (2017-2019) in a ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters on 2 October at 7 pm.

Princesse Sumaya bint El Hassan is named in recognition of her efforts to promote science as a power to bring countries together and contribute to positive changes in society, for her commitment to strengthening the development of scientific thinking in her native country and her dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization.”

As a UNESCO Special Envoy, the Princess will support the work of the Organization in science diplomacy, notably during the forthcoming World Science Forum, which will take place in Jordan from 7 to 11 November.

A graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan is passionate about science and has been the President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan since 2006. She is also the Deputy-Chair of the Higher Council for Science and Technology, a government body that advises Jordan on public policy issues relating to science and technology. Princess Sumaya has supported SESAME, the Synchroton-light for experimental science and applications in the Middle East, located in Allan, Jordan.

UNESCO Special Envoys are exceptional personalities who serve as standard-bearers for the Organization. Through their professional activities and personal charisma, they help ensure that UNESCO’s message is heard worldwide.


Journalists wishing to attend the ceremony are requested to contact Djibril Kebe at UNESCO’s Media Section: +33(0)145681741



Categories: News

The Spotlight Initiative

Europaid - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:11
Categories: News