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The mission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is to contribute to the building of peace, eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. It fulfills this mission by helping nations establish programs for training teachers and establish curriculums, by promoting and operating scientific research centers in developing regions, by helping member countries restore and preserve their national monuments, and by promoting the use of practical and social sciences in general. The UNESCO headquarters are in Paris, France.


In 1942, the governments of European countries fighting Germany, as well as the United States, met in the United Kingdom for the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME). This conference resulted in a preliminary agreement between the participating nations to promote peace through the use of education and culture. On November 1, 1945, representatives of 44 countries met in London for the U.N. Conference for establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF). That conference ended on November 16th with 37 of the participants signing an agreement to found UNESCO; that agreement went into force when the 20th nation ratified it on November 4, 1946. The first session of the General Conference of UNESCO met in Paris November 16 - December 10, 1946.

Since its establishment, UNESCO has sponsored a variety of projects in every part of the developing world, always at the request of the nation being helped. Among its most notable projects was the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1954, which laid the foundations for today's world wide web, and the saving of the Abu Simbel temple complex in Egypt from destruction by construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960's.

For more information on UNESCO history, structure, and missions, see the official website at

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The Robinson Library >> Academies and Societies

This page was last updated on 11/16/2018.