Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The IIEP was founded as a result of a USA initiative and now suffers as the USA withholds funding from UNESCO

The Website of the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) makes a number of publications available worldwide via its website.

The IIEP is a UNESCO Category I Center, established in 1963 in Paris, France. It is supported by grants from UNESCO and by voluntary contributions from Member States and others. IIEP is an integral part of UNESCO, yet it enjoys a large amount of autonomy.

Rene Maheu, then UNESCO Director General, and the UNESCO general Conference established the IIEP at the initiative of the U.S. government and in particular of John F. Kennedy's Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Culture, Philip Coonbs. The initiative was advanced following a White House conference convened to assess the effects of decolonization. Within a decade, U.S. leadership and its commitment to the global good led to the creation not only of IIEP but of two other enduring UNESCO centers of excellence: the World Heritage Convention and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

It is ironic that UNESCO currently had budgeted to provide only 14% of IIEP's budget with the remaining 86% contributed by new champions of the global good: Norway, Sweden Switzerland and the Netherlands.(Ireland and Spain, despite their desperate financial status also contribute!) Moreover, UNESCO's 14% has been reduced by nearly $900,000 because of the U.S. freeze on contributions to UNESCO. (The world Heritage Center will lose more than $1,1,400.00 because of US action. IOC has also taken a devastating hit.)

As this is written, IIEP's director is leading a UNESCO team to Libya, at the Libyan authorities request, to see how UNESCO might be helpful in rebuilding the country's' intellectual infrastructures. IIEP is on the ground also in South Sudan, Afghanistan and other countries such as Chad and Burkina Faso, that are in desperate need. Let us hope that the United States,that played so Central and positive a role in creating the post world War II international order, of which UNESCO is a central part, will soon emerge from its current slumber and demonstrate to the world the better face of its nature.