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U.S. and Israel Lose UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Voting Rights

Education for the 21st Century

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The folly of laws that force action upon the occurrence of some triggering event was on full display last week as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had to strip the United States of its voting rights because of nonpayment of dues that the government actually wanted to pay for the last two years but could not. The move is expected to cost at least 1,000 American jobs and undermine American influence around the world.
List of the 195 Members (and the 9 Associate Members) of UNESCO and the date on which they became members (or Associate Members) of the OrganizationMembers

The U.S.-UNESCO conflict goes back to two laws passed by Congress in 1990 and 1994 that require the government to cease funding any UN agency that accepts Palestine as a full member. Nearly 20 years later, in 2011, the government was forced to stop all support for UNESCO after the organization voted to grant Palestine full membership. Despite reform efforts led by the Obama administration in 2011 and 2012, Congress refused to alter or amend the law.
Under UNESCO’s constitution, however, any nation that fails to pay dues for two years loses its vote in the UNESCO general assembly. That made UNESCO’s vote-stripping automatic, just as the U.S. “decision” to withhold dues was unavoidable under federal law. The U.S. had never before voluntarily given up its vote in a UN organization, according to diplomats.  
“I deeply regret this,” said UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova in an interview Friday at agency headquarters. “This is not some kind of punishment on behalf of Unesco for nonpayment. It’s just our rules.”  
The U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, David T. Killion, said at the ongoing UNESCO general conference in Paris that “UNESCO is a critical partner in creating a better future,” that the Obama administration was committed to restoring funding and that the U.S. would continue to participate as a nonvoting member in the meantime.  MORE

News Video

TV cameras
© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
UNESCO produces Television releases (B-rolls) enabling journalists to edit television items on UNESCO, Video News Releasesillustrating UNESCO projects and activities, thematic videos promoting UNESCO programmes, Public Service Announcements delivering key messages and Video interviewsof experts.


Anonymous said…
Let's use this as opportunity to focus on the education of our own citizens. It's kind of laughable that we would be trying to lead the world on education when many of our students can barely speak or read English. Our math and science performance is terrible and in many ways we're becoming more third world like.

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