Routes of Culture: The impact of UNESCO Publishing

Routes of Culture: The impact of UNESCO Publishing

Maria Sofie Simonsen

The cornerstone in UNESCO's extensive attempt of constructing peace after World War II was its ability to communicate with the world outside of the UNESCO House.

From the very beginning, the organization was preoccupied with specialized activities in the field of mass communication, for example by meeting the technological needs of war-devastated countries in press, radio and films, by ensuring the free flow of information, and by removing any barriers etc. A special task, however, consisted of producing and circulating scientific literature, school textbooks and other materials that promoted the organization’s values and ethical standards. For this purpose, UNESCO established a publishing house, UNESCO Publishing.

This sub-project examines UNESCO's commitment to books by focusing on UNESCO Publishing’s activities, distribution routes and local impact in the selected nine member states. It includes works published directly by UNESCO under its own imprint, works published through financial or other forms of assistance from UNESCO, and works issued by national UNESCO commissions under agreement with UNESCO – often as translations of publications issued by UNESCO.

Documents at the UNESCO Archives show that the organization has in fact taken quite a considerable number of initiatives in which the book was at the center. Not only has the book constituted a natural extension of UNESCO’s work on fundamental education, the prevalence and use of printed literature rather than other media has made it the major tool used by UNESCO in its efforts to develop and influence cultural and educational awareness and to create "peace in the minds" of people in the member states.

But exactly which types of books did it produce? Who received them, and what kind of reception did they get? How were they used, and were some of the publications of special importance to specific member states?

Contact

Contact

Research Coordinator Poul Duedahl

Kroghstraede 1, 9220 Aalborg O, Denmark

Phone: +45 9940 9141
Email: duedahl@cgs.aau.dk