After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO.
Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity.
In 2011, when payment of membership contributions was suspended at the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, I said I was convinced UNESCO had never mattered as much for the United States, or the United States for UNESCO.
This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination.
I believe UNESCO’s work to advance literacy and quality education is shared by the American people.
I believe UNESCO’s action to harness new technologies to enhance learning is shared by the American people.
I believe UNESCO’s action to enhance scientific cooperation, for ocean sustainability, is shared by the American people.
I believe UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of expression, to defend the safety of journalists, is shared by the American people.
I believe UNESCO’s action to empower girls and women as change-makers, as peacebuilders, is shared by the American people.
I believe UNESCO’s action to bolster societies facing emergencies, disasters and conflicts is shared by the American people.
Despite the withholding of funding, since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful.
Together, we have worked to protect humanity’s shared cultural heritage in the face of terrorist attacks and to prevent violent extremism through education and media literacy.
Together, we worked with the late Samuel Pisar, Honorary Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Education, to promote education for remembrance of the Holocaust across the world as the means to fight antisemitism and genocide today, including with, amongst others, the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education at the University of Southern California and the UNESCO Chair on Literacy and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania.
Document Sources: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Country: Israel, United States of America
Subject: Agenda Item, Assistance, Education and culture, Negotiations and agreements
Publication Date: 12/10/2017
URL source: https://en.unesco.org/news/statement-irina-bokova-director-general-unesco-occasion-withdrawal-united-states-america-unesco