US, Israel Withdraw from UNESCO

Following the U.S. decision Thursday to quit the United Nations organization for education, science and culture, Israel announced it too will withdraw. The United States stopped funding UNESCO after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the agency as a full member. As a member subject to membership dues, the United States accumulated a $600 million debt over the years. But as VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports, the Trump administration also cited anti-Israel bias as a reason for withdrawal.


Full Name: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Created: 1945.

Mission: To build a culture of peace, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

How does it work?

UNESCO’s primary decision-making body is the General Conference, comprising all 195 member states. It meets every 2 years to set the policies and programs of the agency. It is overseen by a Director-General, who is appointed every four years.

Programs: UNESCO’s activities are focused on five areas.

  • Attaining quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning
  • Mobilizing scientific knowledge and policy for sustainable development
  • Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges
  • Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace
  • Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication

Observances: UNESCO observes 40 International Days, including International Women’s Day on March 8, World Press Freedom Day on May 3, World Teachers’ Day on October 5 and International Migrants Day on December 18.

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