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L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards recognize 5 exceptional scientists

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 18:36
focus_laureates_fwis2017.jpg © L'Oréal Foundation 22 March 2017

The 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards in the physical sciences will receive their awards at a ceremony in Paris on 23 March 2017.

Proposed by an international community of more than 2,000 leading scientists, the five laureates were selected by an independent international jury of 12 renowned scientists presided this year by Professor Christian Amatore, of the French Académie des sciences. Each laureate will receive a prize of €100,000 to reward for their contribution to science.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards are presented every year to five women, one from each world region (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America) in recognition of their scientific accomplishments. Each scientist has had a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.

Together with the 15 Internatioanl Rising Talents recognized in 2017 by the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme, they are participating in a week of events, training and exchanges that will culminate with the award ceremony on 23 March 2017 at the Mutualité in Paris.

Laureates Africa and the Arab States

Professor Niveen KHASHAB
Associate Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia

Analytical chemistry
For her contributions to innovative smart hybrid materials aimed at drug delivery and for developing new techniques to monitor intracellular antioxidant activity.”

Asia / Pacific 

Professor Michelle SIMMONS
Professor, Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology - University of New South Wales, Australia

Quantum physics
For her pioneering contributions to quantum and atomic electronics, constructing atomic transistors en route to quantum computers.”


Professor Nicola SPALDIN
Professor and Chair of Materials Theory, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Solid state physics
For her groundbreaking multidisciplinary work predicting, describing and creating new materials that have switchable magnetic and ferroelectric properties.”

Latin America

Professor Maria Teresa RUIZ
Professor, Department of Astronomy, Dept. / Universidad de Chile, Chile

For her discovery of the first brown dwarf and her seminal work on understanding the faintest stars, including stars at the final stages of their evolution (white dwarfs).”

North America  

Professor Zhenan BAO
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, USA

Material Chemistry
For her outstanding contribution to and mastery of the development of novel functional polymers for consumer electronics, energy storage and biomedical applications.”


About the L’Oréal Foundation
Accompany. Value. Communicate. Support. Move boundaries. The convictions, the core values which drive the L’Oréal Foundation’s commitment to women everyday. A commitment divided into two main areas - science and beauty.
Through its’ For Women in Science programme, a worldwide partnership with UNESCO, the L’Oréal Foundation motivates girls in High School to pursue scientific careers, supports women researchers and rewards excellence in a field where women remain underrepresented.
Through its beauty programmes, the Foundation assists women affected by illness, who are economically disadvantaged or isolated, to recover their sense of self-esteem and femininity in order to feel better and to fare better. Its’ actions also include providing training programs for beauty industry professions.

Since its’ creation in 1945, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization has been supporting international scientific cooperation as a catalyst for sustainable development and peace. UNESCO assists countries in the development of public policies and in building capabilities in the fields of science, technology, innovation and scientific education. In addition, UNESCO leads several intergovernmental programmes for the sustainable management of freshwater, ocean and terrestrial resources, the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of the role of science in combating climate change and handling natural disasters. To meet these goals, UNESCO is committed to ending discrimination and promoting equality between women and men.

Categories: News

Director General denounces killing of journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera in Mexico

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 15:25
21 March 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera in the eastern state of Veracruz in Mexico on 19 March 2017.

“I condemn the killing of Ricardo Monlui Cabrera,” said the Director-General. “This violent crime not only took a life -- it also affects every single member of society as it attacked the fundamental right to freedom of expression. I welcome the initiative taken by the local authorities to ensure that the perpetrators will be brought to trial.”

A journalist for more than 30 years, Monlui was the Director of the daily newspaper El Político as well as a columnist for the dailies El Sol de Córdoba and the Diario de Xalapa. He was shot by unknown assailants in the municipality of Yanga.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

Categories: News

Standing with European Parliament against violent extremism

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 15:02

“Building a more just, more peaceful, more sustainable future for all must start on the benches of school,” said the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, in her keynote address on 21 March, during an event on the role of “Education for preventing violent extremism” held at the European Parliament, organized in partnership with UNESCO.

This was held on the eve of the first anniversary of devastating terrorist attacks in 2016 against Brussels.

The event took place in the presence of Mr Pavel Telicka, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and was led by Mr Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Member of the European Parliament, as well as Members of the European Parliament.

On this occasion, the Director-General called for new forms of education and for new approaches to education.

“We need education of quality that reaches every girl and boy, education that promotes dialogue and understanding between cultures,” she said. “Education today must be about learning to live in a world under pressure, it must be about new forms of cultural literacy.” 

This was echoed by Pavel Telicka, who said young people "are not born as terrorists," and Ilhan Kyuchyuk, who underlined‎ the vital importance of education, skills and opportunities for employment, "to empower young people while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Irina Bokova said “we must act early, not just to counter violent extremism, but to prevent its rise,” underlining that education as the most powerful way to build peace, to disarm processes that can lead to violent extremism.

“We need to build the defences of peace in the minds of women and men, starting with education,” declared the Director-General highlighting the importance of ‘soft power’ to counter a threat that draws on an exclusive vision of the world, based on false interpretations of faith, hatred and intolerance.

The event featured a Panel Discussion that explored “How to prevent violent extremism and radicalisation through education”. 

Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Representative to the European Institutions, moderated the panel that included Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair Child and Family Research Centre, Hans Bonte, Federal Representative for the constituency of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde and Mayor, and Sara Zeiger, Senior Research Analyst, Hedayah.

Professor Pat Dolan stressed the vital importance of nurturing empathy in young people, to build engagement and advance empowerment while deepening solidarity. "For all this, education is key."

Mayor and MP Hans Bonte shared the experience of the city of Vilvoorde in preventing and countering radicalisation leading to violent extremism‎ -- the city having seen a steep challenge of radicalised young people travelling to Syria. 

"Young people face enormous stress today," he said. "This is something we must face in discussing what education we need and the shape of educational systems, to support young people, keep them in learning. We have to work on all sides, with youth and on schools -- this is where we will win or lose."

He underlined the need for bridge-building at the local level‎ to deepen the sense of belonging and solidarity for young people of all backgrounds.

Sara Zeiger, of Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, spoke of the need for comprehensive approaches to education for maximal impact, tailored to specific contexts. ‎ She shared good practices from two cases in Pakistan and in Nigeria, to foster critical thinking and resilience building as well as employment skills, in young women and men.

Discussion followed on the importance of strengthening media literacy with young people as well as deepening dialogue with religious representatives -- including to counter hate speech on the Internet, while respecting human rights. The vital role of supporting teachers was underlined in all this. 

"We must provide young people with a renewed sense of belonging, with new skills, and new confidence in the future -- and this must start on the benches of schools," concluded Irina Bokova.

Categories: News

Focusing on inclusive digital solutions for low-skilled and low-literate displaced people

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:12
improving-literacy-basic-skills-for-inclusive-digital-world-copyright-internews-europe-typo.jpg © Internews Europe

This year’s Mobile Learning Week, UNESCO’s flagship ICT in education conference currently taking place in Paris, is focused on ‘Education in emergencies and crises’.

Organized in partnership with UNHCR and ITU, Mobile Learning Week examines how new and affordable technologies can reinforce education in emergency and crisis contexts, and expand learning opportunities and inclusion for displaced people.

The UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy: Improved Livelihoods in a Digital World is participating at the conference. The initiative seeks to determine how digital solutions, outside of the traditional education lens, can better include low-skilled and low-literate youth and adults into the digital economy and knowledge society in order to help close the global literacy gap by 2030.

Senior Project Officer for the UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy, Steven Vosloo, will co-present initial findings from an upcoming trends analysis, which includes a special focus on e-services and inclusive digital solutions for low-literate and low-skilled migrants and refugees.

“There are many e-services for the refugee lifecycle today: from pre-departure and transit, to settling in and long-term integration,” he says. “But without being usable by low-skilled and low-literate users, these groups are denied the related benefits.”

While digital services become increasingly important for migrant and refugee support, the trends analysis has found there are insufficient services targeted at low-skilled and low-literate users.

Low literacy levels are the second-biggest barrier to connectivity for refugees

Some of the opportunities that inclusive digital solutions can bring to migrants and refugees are vital communication and information sharing, access to learning, making payments and receiving financial support, and getting health information and psychosocial support. However, the lack of literacy skills constrains refugee communities. Along with cost, low literacy levels comprise the second-biggest barrier to connectivity for refugees (UNHCR, 2016).

Today, approximately 758 million adults, including 115 million youth worldwide, cannot read or write (UIS, 2015) which results in a severe lack of skills needed to benefit from digital technologies. The collaboration between UNESCO and Pearson is part of the Project Literacy movement.

"Literacy is a critical pathway for making progress on development more broadly,” says Jennifer Young, director of social impact programs at Pearson. “Through this partnership with UNESCO, we are looking to other sectors for promising and proven solutions – whether they’re in agriculture, health, energy and the environment or government services – so we can generate new ways of thinking about the challenge of closing the global literacy gap."  

Project Literacy brings together a diverse and global cross-section of people and organizations to help unlock the potential of individuals, families and communities everywhere with the vision that by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.

Learn more about the UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy: Improved Livelihoods in a Digital World and Mobile Learning Week.  

Categories: News

Mobile Learning Week: Education and technology converge to provide solutions for displaced people

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:37
mlw2017-opening-yak-drupal.jpg © YAK

Mobile Learning Week, UNESCO’s yearly flagship ICT in education conference, opened on Monday 20 March 2017 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Focusing on ‘Education in emergencies and crises’, this year’s event is organized in partnership with UNHCR and examines how new and affordable technologies can provide learning opportunities for displaced people around the world.

The sixth edition of Mobile Learning Week was opened by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Qian Tang and UNHCR Representative in France Ralf Gruenert. Keynote addresses were delivered by H.E. Zhanyuan Du, Vice Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, and H.E. Laila Bokhari, State Secretary of Norway.

“We are witnessing the highest levels of displacement ever recorded,” said Mr Tang. “Education is uniquely important in emergency and crisis settings.”  

Mobile Learning Week 2017 is designed to help global knowledge sharing and develop solutions that can be scaled to strengthen inclusion in education and keep the cycle of learning in emergencies. It will look specifically at how innovative mobile learning can effectively support learners, teachers and systems.

The five-day event will feature a symposium with 76 breakout sessions, exhibitions, and a mix of panel discussions and plenary addresses. It will highlight solutions that leverage technology to reach displaced learners, protect and maintain education in emergency settings and facilitate integration efforts.

“Our overall aim is that all refugees and the communities that host them have access to accredited, quality and relevant educational opportunities which are facilitated, supported or enhanced through mobile learning,” said Mr Gruenert. “These new learning environments will prepare refugees and displaced communities to fully engage in the economic, social and cultural world of tomorrow."

Solutions to reach displaced people where they are

The United Nations estimates that in 2015, 24 people were forced to flee their homes each minute - 4 times more than a decade ago. One in every 113 people globally has been displaced due to conflict or persecution and over half of the world’s refugees are children, many separated from their parents or traveling alone.

“It is our task to help find solutions to leverage this technology to reach people where they are, opening portals to learning and empowerment,” said Mr Tang. “This is what Mobile Learning Week is about: helping our Member States and other partners understand how to harness technology to strengthen education and promote lifelong learning, particularly for the most vulnerable.”  

Mobile Learning Week will include workshops highlighting innovative mobile learning content, technology, research and projects. Strategy Labs designed to help guide the conceptualization and refinement of projects will be hosted jointly with partner organizations. A Policy Forum held in collaboration with UNHCR and ITU will bring together ministers of education, ministers of ICT and leaders from private sector companies to examine how governments can foster innovation in the education sector and facilitate the acquisition of e-skills, particularly for disadvantaged or displaced learners.



Learn more about Mobile Learning Week 2017 and join the conversation on Twitter via #MLW2017

Categories: News

The Director-General meets the leadership of B'nai B'rith International

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 19:56

On 20 March, UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, met with the Executive Vice President of B'nai B'rith International, Mr Daniel S. Mariaschin, accompanied by several senior members of this organization, at UNESCO Headquarters.

This meeting was an opportunity to highlight the longstanding cooperation between UNESCO and B'nai B'rith International, marked by significant joint initiatives such as the symposiums “Permanence of Yiddish” and “Judeo-Spanish Heritage trail and in the Mediterranean” co-organized by B'nai B'rith and UNESCO at UNESCO Headquarters in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Mr Mariaschin praised UNESCO for successfully developing its Programme on Education about the Holocaust and expressed his strong wish that the Programme be further strengthened in the years to come stressing the importance of the Organization’s leadership role in the field of education. The Organization stands as the sole UN agency with a mandate to promote Holocaust education worldwide for the prevention of genocide, promoting respect for human rights, through policies and initiatives at a global level, in order to make young people, whatever their origin and culture, become more aware of the mechanisms that can lead societies to scale up hatred and mass violence, and how to prevent these phenomena.

The Director-General expressed her gratitude to B'nai B'rith for its continuing support of UNESCO on matters of common interest, including fostering intercultural dialogue, combating anti-Semitism, youth radicalization and violent extremism, as well as all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Ms Bokova and Mr Mariaschin pledged to continue with the constructive engagement and cooperation in these areas.

Categories: News

UNESCO, France and the Emirates launch an International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 18:31

On 20 March 2017, Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, participated in the Donors' Conference on the occasion of the launch of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas. The Conference was held at the Paris Louvre Museum in the Khorsabad courtyard, in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Mr. François Hollande, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, HE Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Director-General welcomed the profound commitment of France and President Hollande to defending heritage and placing culture at the heart of the International Political Agenda.

"You have been among those who have put the greatest emphasis on heritage and the strategic need to protect it in order to respond to modern conflicts," she recalled, highlighting the joint mission to Timbuktu in 2013 following the liberation of the city and which kicked off UNESCO mausoleum reconstruction campaign.

The Director-General reviewed the wide range of measures taken by UNESCO in recent years, including the adoption of a comprehensive strategy and the creation of an emergency fund for the protection of heritage.

“UNESCO will continue to play its full part in coordinating international initiatives in this field," she concluded.

"The protection of heritage is inseparable from the protection of human life," declared President François Hollande, announcing the project of a framework resolution at the United Nations Security Council on the protection of cultural heritage.

"Those who destroy heritage are well aware of its power to unite communities, and they intentionally target culture, schools and libraries to enslave and accelerate the disintegration of societies. I have called this a strategy of cultural cleansing. This is a war crime and it has become a tactic of war," added the Director-General.

The creation of a new international fund, announced at the Abu Dhabi Conference in December 2016, reinforces existing tools - including UNESCO's emergency fund established in 2015 - and gives a new impetus to international cooperation for the protection of heritage.

The Fund, whose statutes are deposited in Geneva, aims to raise $ 100 million by 2019. Seven countries, including France, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Luxembourg, Morocco and Switzerland pledged some $ 75 million on Monday. Several other states have promised to make a contribution also, including in the form of expertise and political support, including notably Italy, Great Britain, Germany, China, the Republic of Korea and Mexico.

"Three-quarters of the target has already been reached," concluded Jack Lang, President of the Arab World Institute, and organizer of the conference, alongside Mohamed Al Mubarak, special representative of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.


Categories: News

Director-General to speak at the European Parliament on the role of education in preventing violent extremism

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:46

On 21 March, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, is in Brussels to give a keynote speech during an event on the role of “Education for preventing violent extremism” held at the European Parliament, and organized in partnership with UNESCO.

Mr Pavel Telicka, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and Mr Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Member of the European Parliament, will open the event that will take place in the presence of Members of the European Parliament.

The Director-General will highlight the importance of ‘soft power’ and the message of the UNESCO Constitution to counter a threat that draws on an exclusive vision of the world, based on false interpretations of faith, hatred and intolerance.

The event will feature a Panel Discussion that will explore “How to prevent violent extremism and radicalisation through education”. Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Representative to the European Institutions will moderate the panel including Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair Child and Family Research Centre, Hans Bonte, Federal representative for the constituency of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, Sara Zeiger, Senior Research Analyst, Hedayah, and Afzal Khan, Member of the European Parliament.

Categories: News

Strong link between school violence and juvenile delinquency in the Republic of Korea

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 15:01

Of the 210 juvenile cases (aged between 10 and 18 at the time of the offence, arrest, or referral to court) handled between September and December 2016 in the Family Court of Daejeon, the fifth largest city in the Republic of Korea, 60.9 per cent had a history of school violence under the School Violence Act or the Juvenile Act.

This provides a snapshot of the extent of interrelations between school violence and other anti-social behaviour among children and adolescents. Daejeon has the fourth largest number of juvenile cases in the Republic of Korea.

Family Court Judge, Sunmi Lee, revealed the statistics during a plenary session at the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, organized by UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence Prevention at Ewha Womans University in Seoul in January 2017.

Ms Lee went on to explain that 35.7  per cent of those young offenders (i.e. 75 persons) were tried for school violence, and of that number, 41 had a history of trouble with the law, and 15 had more than 3 previous convictions.

She also explained that even among those indicted for crimes other than school violence (135), 38.5 per cent had a previous history of school violence. Larceny was the most common of other juvenile delinquencies, followed by sexual assault, and internet fraud, she said.

The percentage of repeat juvenile offenders who were convicted more than three times rose from 9.2 per cent in 2008 to 18.8 per cent in 2014.

Ms Lee believes one of the factors for this increased recidivism may be the recent and wide use of social media, “Individual juvenile delinquents can much more easily communicate with each other through social media, spreading anti-social views, and learning criminal skills.”

Ms Sunmi Lee was appointed as a judge in 2005, and is a member of the International Hague Network of Judges, which works for cooperation between judges in ensuring the effective operation of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Categories: News

New media development projects to be assessed by IPDC Bureau

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 10:43
20 March 2017

The Press Union of Liberia is seeking international support to train 50 journalists and social media actors on conflict sensitive journalism.

In Myanmar, the Independent Ethnic Media Alliance (IEMA) is wants to help local ethnic media increase the diversity of media choice and provide relevant information to local communities, especially women and youth. 

El Salvador’s Association of Journalists (APES) is requesting assistance to improve the safety of journalists through a comprehensive approach that targets citizens, security forces and media workers, to cope with the increasing gang- and drug trafficking-related violence.

These are just a few examples of the 114 project proposals being submitted to IPDC’s Bureau in Paris over 21-22 March.

The Bureau, made up of eight UNESCO Member States’ representatives, will deliberate about the merits of each proposal and approve those that will be receive funding for implementation this year. At the end of the meeting, it is expected that the Programme will give grants to strategic media development projects in at least 30 countries.

The Liberian project aims to promote ethical and professional standards in journalism and enhance freedom of expression by listening to the views of all sides with the aim of giving fair, balanced and credible reporting. The last two elections in the country have been challenged by violence-ridden language and journalists have often been blamed for promoting hate speech.

For Myanmar, the project by the IEMA is a response to an ethnically diverse country where many groups are still underserved by the media. Broadcast, especially radio, can deliver critical information to ethnic communities better, but the sector is still underdeveloped.

El Salvador’s journalists association wants to train 350 journalists on safety issues and 80 security forces on the importance of keeping journalists safe, as well as to set up a national monitoring system on these issues in the country.

Detailed information about each of projects to be considered by the IPDC Bureau is available here.

Categories: News

IPDC projects resonate with their beneficiaries

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 10:40
20 March 2017

As the 61st bureau meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) gets underway on 21 March, an analytical summary of projects funded by the programme last year shows how the projects have supported the growth of community broadcasting while broadening the scope for advocacy for the safety of journalists in several countries.

The report, available online, discloses that over 120 volunteers in Jamaica, Palestine, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Dominican Republic and Bangladesh benefited from support for community broadcasting, including through training, equipment, networking and advocacy.

In Swaziland, Somalia and Kazakhstan, over 50 media practitioners and owners benefited from training opportunities on the safety of journalists, while in St. Lucia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Madagascar and Nepal, over 215 people participated in various activities aimed at supporting media law and policy reforms.

While cataloguing a series of other project outputs across the IPDC’s priorities on media assessments and capacity-building in Mexico, Suriname, Haiti, Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia, Cuba,  Jamaica, Uganda, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Malaysia, Oman, Swaziland and Sri Lanka, the report draws out several lessons for future implementation.

The first lesson is about innovative ways of addressing the inadequacy of resources by collaborating with other organizations and NGOs to supplement the budget.

The second lesson is the need to make project objectives as modest as possible, especially where influencing complex social and political processes is concerned.

The third lesson revolves around the continued use of and appreciation for the IPDC’s normative instruments. For example, in the course of the research carried out to implement one project in Argentina, beneficiaries relied upon the UNESCO's Media Viability Indicators “not in direct application but as inputs to trigger the analysis and reflections of the (community radio) stations themselves …”

The report is prepared annually is part of the IPDC’s efforts to enhance knowledge-driven media development as a larger process towards helping with the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Categories: News

Global Citizenship Takes Centre Stage at Dubai Forum

Unesco Most Programme - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 22:42
dg-gesf-dubai-drupal.jpg © UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova asserted the capital role of global citizenship education for peace, sustainable development and human dignity during her participation in the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai, on 18 and 19 March.

Gathering over 2,000 delegates from public, private and social sectors, the Forum focused on the theme “How to make real global citizens.” The Director-General recalled that UNESCO, a partner of the Forum, had fought hard for global citizenship education to be featured as a target in Sustainable Development Goal 4, encompassing “a holistic vision of why education cannot wait.”

During a panel on education in emergencies organized with Plan International, Dubai Cares and the World Food Programme, she stressed the urgent need for political and financial mobilization. “We must look at the consequences of not acting – in terms of poverty reproduction, the destruction of the fabric of communities and societies. This is not only a humanitarian concern but one about peace and security.”

During a parliamentarian-style chamber debate with Camfed’s Lucy Lake, former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Rebecca Winthrop from Brookings, she defended education as an answer to the rise of populism. This calls for educational transformation through two angles: first universal access to quality education with equity and inclusion as yardsticks; second, a fresh focus on contents that foster new values and skills for new times. “We need education that both provides relevant skills for the markets of today and tomorrow and education that promotes critical thinking, understanding between cultures, that strengthens democratic values, and the resilience of societies and the planet based on new forms of global citizenship.”

She also participated in the first meeting of the Atlantis Group, which brings together former ministers of education to help address global education challenges. Against the backdrop of rising inequality, climate change and technology disruptions, she stated that “the prerequisite should be that education is a public good. This should be the basis of all work to empower teachers, leverage technology, match skills with work, promote social mobility and living together.”

Opening the Forum, Mr Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of the Varkey Foundation, affirmed that education should help children from every country, culture and faith learn that there is more that unites than divides and provide the inspiration and tools to make a positive imprint on the lives of others. OECD’s Andreas Schleicher emphasized the potential of technology to “liberate learning from past conventions, connect learners and create a more collaborative culture.”

Announced from the European space station in a star-studded ceremony, the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize was awarded to Canada’s Maggie MacDonnell, who teaches in Salluit, an Inuit community deep in the Arctic.  The 50 finalists of the Prize, now in its third edition, were at the Forum giving master classes and participating in debates. The Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai.

On the sidelines of the Forum, the Director-General met with the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the UAE, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She expressed profound gratitude for his contribution to the renovation of Room I at UNESCO Headquarters, as well as his generous support to education through a number of initiatives, including the UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers, a post-diploma course on curriculum design and the literacy and life skills project for youth and women in Somalia. In exchanging views on the refugee crisis, His Highness shared his concerns and commitment to assist in meeting educational needs.

During the Forum, the Director-General also met with Mr Jamiyansuren Batsuuri, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia, Mr Orhan Erdem, Deputy Minister of National Education of Turkey, and Mr Nikolay Denkov, Minister of Education of Bulgaria.



Categories: News

Asia-Pacific countries use social innovation to face ageing population and gender inequality

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 17:37
infocus_mostforum_asia2017.jpg © / Muellek Josef

Ministers and Senior Officials from Asia and the Pacific are coming together in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 20 to 23 March 2017, for the First Asia-Pacific MOST Forum of Ministers of Social Development. Together with researchers and scientists, they will explore three important issues reshaping the region: ageing, gender equality and social innovation.

This Forum, organized in the context of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme, will highlight cutting-edge social innovations that have proven effective in addressing the challenges of ageing population and related gender inequality. Top-level decision-makers will gain insight into existing research in order to support production of knowledge for evidence-informed policy design to promote inclusive societies.

Countries in Asia and the Pacific are undergoing population ageing, accompanied by trends of declining fertility and mortality rates. Currently, around 60 percent of the world’s elderly are from the Asia Pacific region. From 2016 to 2050, the number of older persons in the region is expected to more than double from 547 million to 1.3 billion. By 2050, one in four people are expected to be over 60 years old and the proportion of the “oldest-old”, that is, those in the 80+ cohort, is expected to comprise one-fifth of the elderly population.

Ageing also has a clear gender dimension. In Asia and the Pacific, as in most parts of the world, demographic trends have shown that more women than men join the old age cohorts. On average, women outlive men by at least four years. Because women continue to face economic and cultural barriers to fully participate in society at every stage of their lives, the cumulative effect of discrimination can be especially onerous towards older age.

Population ageing is a cause for concern for policymakers from the region, who face the challenge to generate economic growth in a social climate with growing numbers of elderly and declining numbers of younger persons. This includes the provision of accessible healthcare and support structures that promote meaningful integration of the elderly in society.

Solutions often lie in social innovations – new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social collaborations. Because social innovations often form in local contexts, UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme supports their wider dissemination across countries for higher impact.

The Asia-Pacific Forum will address these challenges, and adopt an outcome document to chart the course for future research to sustain the development of evidence-informed and inclusive policies in the region.

For more information about the Forum


Categories: News

Director General condemns killing of columnist Joaquin Briones in the Philippines

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 17:17
17 March 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has denounced today the killing of newspaper columnist Joaquin Briones in the Masbate province of the Philippines on 13 March.

“I condemn the killing of Joaquin Briones,” said the Director-General. “Attacks on the media fuel fear of covering issues which matter to society, leading to self-censorship and an uninformed public. I call on the local authorities to ensure that the Rule of Law is applied and the perpetrators of this crime are brought to court". 

Joaquin Briones was a contributor to the daily tabloid newspaper Remate. He previously hosted the radio program Dos por Dos were he reported on local issues. He was fatally shot by unknown assailants on motorcycle in the town of Milagros on Monday morning.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

Categories: News

Call for piloting Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 16:39
17 March 2017

UNESCO is looking for a higher educational institution delivering the Open and Distance Learning (ODL), in order to pilot and localize its document “Learning for All: Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learner with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning”. The final deliverable should be a detailed Plan of Action for making higher education delivering ODL more inclusive for learners with disabilities.

The detailed Plan of Action should include: (i) assessment and analysis of current situation using the matrix of actions and technical annexes; (ii) identification of key challenges and opportunities, as well as (iii) concrete actions and recommendations for different educational stakeholders in order to make ODL inclusive for all learners.

The final delivery date is 15 November 2017.

The qualified entity shall apply the above-mentioned guidelines developed by UNESCO in its own organization or selected educational institutions delivering ODL on inclusion of students with disabilities and application of inclusive and accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The qualified entity should follow the recommendations and guidelines provided in the above-mentioned document, including matrix and technical annexes.

In order to be considered, interested entities should submit their Expression of Interest including the following information:

  • brief presentation of the organization including number of staff, turnover, years in business;
  • reference list demonstrating qualifications for participating in the possible upcoming solicitation process (at least two CVs of staff to be involved);
  • quotation regarding the fees to carry out the work using annexed form (see Annex I of this document), including a provisional timeline;
  • contact information (full name and address, country, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address, website and contact person).

The Expression of Interest and accompanying documents (max. 10 pages) must be received by UNESCO no later than 6 April 2017, 18.00 p.m. Paris (France) time. Expressions of Interest can be sent by e-mails: i.kasinskaite(at) and z.varoglu(at)

More information on this call is available here.

Context and purpose

Approximately 15 per cent of the population, representing some 1 billion people in the world have a disability. This figure is accelerating in line with population increases, growing poverty, natural disasters, ongoing conflicts and an aging population. With such a large number of people living with a disability, it is vital that access to educational opportunities would be widely available to all learners.

In this regard, opportunities for Open and Distance Learning (ODL) may provide some solutions to the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities in accessing information and education. Furthermore, access to information and knowledge is recognized as one of the key fundamental human rights. Without access to reliable information and effective communication means, it is difficult to ensure an effective, inclusive and open learning and teaching process. Moreover, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) emphasizes access to education among other issues as an important consideration towards making reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities.

The qualified entity shall take into account the key concepts and principles of the UN CRPD, apply the guidelines developed by UNESCO, and furthermore apply human rights based approach and gender equality principles when analyzing the actions, processes and content provided for learners with disabilities. In addition, information and web accessibility should be considered as one of the quality education criteria.

Categories: News