The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Purposes



UNESCO's functions, as prescribed in its 1945 constitution, are as follows:

  1. to collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples through all means of mass communication;
  2. to give fresh impulse to popular education and to the spread of culture by collaborating with members, at their request, in the development of educational activities; by instituting collaboration among the nations to advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunities without regard to race, sex, or any distinctions, economic or social; and by suggesting educational methods best suited to prepare the children of the world for the responsibilities of freedom; and
  3. to maintain, increase, and diffuse knowledge by ensuring the conservation and protection of the world's heritage of books, works of art, and monuments of history and science; by encouraging cooperation among the nations in all branches of intellectual activity, including the international exchange of persons active in the fields of education, science, and culture and the exchange of publications, objects of artistic and scientific interest, and other materials of information; and by initiating methods of international cooperation calculated to give the people of all countries access to the printed and published materials produced by any of them."

Since UNESCO's constitution specifically emphasizes the need to preserve "the independence, integrity and fruitful diversity of the cultures and educational systems" of the member states, the organization cannot impose any particular standard either on all its members or on any of them, and it is "prohibited from intervening in matters … within their domestic jurisdiction."

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