man on sand holding up mirror on his shoulders

UNESCO marked its 75th anniversary this month. The history of UNESCO is a journey into often titanic projects with the aim to nurture reconciliation and unite people around a common heritage. This exhibition tells the story of UNESCO’s endeavors to understand, preserve and convey the best of our shared humanity: the common thread that joins us in our efforts to transform of the world.

Drawn human figures hold out photos of different cultural items

UNESCO Memory of the World (MoW) Programme launched a free, online course for teachers and educators on how to integrate important historical items from all over the world in their teaching.

A gloved hand holds up the tablet.

UNESCO celebrates a significant victory in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects as one of the oldest literary works in history is formally handed back to Iraq by the United States of America. In addition to this exceptional piece, the US Government facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 17,000 artefacts to Iraq which were discovered to have been looted in recent decades. The “Gilgamesh Tablet”, also known as the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, is believed to have been looted from a museum in Iraq following the conflict in that country in 1991.

A rooftop with people performing with the Beirut Port as a backdrop.

One year ago, a massive double explosion hit the port of Beirut. The human toll was heavy: more than 200 dead, more than 6,000 injured, 300,000 families left homeless. The capital’s neighbourhoods were devastated and disfigured for miles around, almost bringing down the cultural and artistic sector. UNESCO then launched the Li Beirut (For Beirut) initiative from across the port. The initiative aims to mobilize the international community to support the reconstruction of the city’s educational and cultural sectors. UNESCO continues carrying out restoration work of schools and cultural sites.

A stone sculpture in front of a sunset.

The World Heritage Committee added 13 cultural sites in Africa, Arab Region, Asia, Europe, and Latin America to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and one extension to an existing cultural site in Mexico.

With the support of over 80 prominent international street artists, Street Art for Mankind (SAM) curates and produces large murals, interactive exhibitions, and live performances around the world to bond communities and generations around human rights. Partnering with UNEP, SAM believes in the power of art to trigger social change.

A woman from her balcony next to a mural on the wall.

UNESCO and the World Bank have partnered to enable the cultural and creative industries in cities as part of their recovery and development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Africa Dialogue Series (ADS) celebrates the continent’s identity, culture, history and achievements. It also brings together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for Africa under the theme Cultural Identity and Ownership: Reshaping mindsets.

Women and men in traditional dress perform a traditional dance

The impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector is being felt around the world. This impact is social, economic, and political – it affects the fundamental right of access to culture, the social rights of artists and creative professionals, and the protection of cultural expressions. Tomorrow’s High-Level Event for the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May),  will highlight the transformative role of culture towards SDG implementation, as well as the challenges within the cultural and creative industries and the broader cultural ecosystem. #Voices4Culture

The profile of a woman against stitching of different colours.

World Creativity and Innovation Day (21 April) raises awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development. As the pandemic closed traditional areas of life, many people took up a craft, read books, watched series and films, connected to digital concerts, or shopped online for the latest fashion. They helped sustain the creative economy. After a year of pandemic-induced lockdowns, there couldn’t be a better time to appreciate the creative economy. Therefore, this year also marks the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

A woman holds a video camera while kids hold up their arms.

In an extraordinary demonstration of creative energy, the second edition of the WHO Health for All Film Festival has attracted nearly 1200 short film submissions from 110 countries.

Flowers in bloom.

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox. It is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions. Nowruz plays a significant role in strengthening the ties among peoples based on mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good neighbourliness. The International Day of Nowruz is celebrated every year on 21 March.

The top end of a pencil dissolves into a cluster of letters.

Held every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace. The observance is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry supporting linguistic diversity and offering endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

A sculpture of hands placed on the façade of a building

UNWTO and UNESCO collaborate to guidelines for the responsible restart of cultural tourism to ensure inclusive access to heritage, as countries around the world recover from the pandemic.

A boy points to handwritten text on a blackboard.

International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behindUNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning. This year’s observance is a call on policymakers, educators and teachers, parents and families to scale up their commitment to multilingual education, and inclusion in education to advance education recovery in the context of COVID-19.