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

BACKGROUND: "Since wars begin in the minds of men," the preamble to the UNESCO constitution states, "it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." As also stated in the preamble, "the great and terrible war which has now ended was a war made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men and by the propagation, in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races." World War II was too recent of an event when UNESCO was created for its founders to forget that fact. UNESCO's purpose as a member of the UN family of organizations is "to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order 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."

User Contributions:

Igor Shwabe
I came to America as a foreign student in 1949. Alone, with just enough money for food, and without citizenship in any country.

I was at the time a fully blooded Russian Refugeee by virtue of being born to two Russian parents who fled the Bolshevik Revolution and therefore abandoned their nationality. I was, consequently born "Russian" by the rule of Blood & Heritage,the law in Europe but countryless by the relief of Dr. Nansen who provided some inentity to millions of simular Russians. I attended Ohio University. The US Immigration Laws at the time kept me on the edge of being deportted. I Graduated with honors in Architecture and by special ACT of CONGRESS (HR 2899) evetually became a citizen of the USA.

This preface is provided, with humility, to pay tribute to the power of the mind to those who embraced the similar thought process who authored the UNESCO Preamble that have changed and moulded my life.

In 1950 I was chosen to be the Chairman for the Cultural Committee of a UNESCO Symposium at Oberline College. Oberlin, Ohio that was attended by students from most Academic Institutions in OHIO In preparation for that presigeous position, as a boy of 20 years old, I studied the UNESCO purposes and read the Preamble.

I have in the last 60 years NEVER forgotten that Preamble---Short, so to the heart of the issue of the horrors of all conflicts, misunderstandings and wars :-

" Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed ". To me the preamble is as powerful as ---"E Pluribus Unum".

I lament so sincerely and deeply that the UNESCO Preamble has not been inscribed in more honorific monuments for humanity to be reminded repeatedly of the indelible wisdom expressed with so few words.


Igor Shwabe, AIA Emeritus

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