UNESCO Anniversary Conference

The Global History of UNESCO Project cordially invites everybody interested in the history of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to attend the Organization’s 70th anniversary conference on the history of the Organization, which takes place at its Headquarters in Paris in October 2015

Title: Making a Difference: Seventy Years of UNESCO Actions

Place: Salle X, UNESCO, 125 Avenue de Suffren, Paris

Date: 28-29 October 2015

Objective: What has been the impact of UNESCO’s ideas and initiatives? How have UNESCO’s values and ideals been translated into practice over the past 70 years? Why does history matter for UNESCO? These are the questions that 17 historians address during this 70th anniversary history conference, covering a wide range of topics, from world heritage conservation to post-conflict reconstruction, from peace building to dissemination of knowledge. The objective is to gain a better understanding of UNESCO’s relevance and its capacity to help building the defenses of peace in the minds of men and women.

Convenor: The Global History of UNESCO Project in partnership with the Danish National Commission for UNESCO and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Language: English / French (simultaneous translation).




9.30-10.30: Opening Ceremony:

  • Director-General Irina Bokova 
  • Chairperson of the Executive Board, Mohamed Sameh Amr 
  • President of the General Conference Hao Ping 
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Denmark, Protector of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO: Official Opening of the Conference
  • Projection of historical images and sound

10.30-10.45: Introduction:

  • Poul Duedahl (Aalborg University, Denmark): Out of the House: On the Global History of UNESCO, 1945-2015

10.45-12.30: Sub-theme: Routes of Knowledge

  • Edgardo C. Krebs (Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA): Popularizing Anthropology, Combating Racism: Alfred Métraux at the UNESCO Courier 
  • Céline Giton (Chartreuse de Neuville, France): Weapons of Mass Distribution: UNESCO and the Central Role of Books 
  • Suzanne Langlois (York University, Toronto, Canada): And Action!: UN and UNESCO Coordinating Information Films, 1945-1951

12.30-14.30: Lunch

14.30-16.00: Sub-theme: Rebuilding a World Devastated by War

  • Samuel Boussion (Université Paris-8, France), Mathias Gardet (Université Paris-8, France) & Martine Ruchat (Université de Genève, Switzerland): Child Victims, UNESCO and the Promotion of International Model of Children’s Communities after World War II 
  • Takashi Saikawa (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan): Returning to the International Community: UNESCO and Postwar Japan, 1945-1951 
  • Miriam Intrator (Ohio University, USA): Pursuing Peace through a ‘Library-Minded’ World

16.00-17.30: Sub-theme: Experts on the Ground

  • Jens Boel (UNESCO Archives, France): UNESCO’s Fundamental Education Program 1946-1958: Vision, Actions and Impact 
  • Josué Mikobi Dikay (Université Pédagogique Nationale and Université Protestante au Congo, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo): Education for Independence: UNESCO in post-colonial Congo 
  • Anabella Abarzúa Cutroni (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina): The flow of UNESCO experts towards Latin America: On the asymmetrical impact of the missions, 1947-1984


9.30-10.30: Keynote Speaker

  • Elikia M'Bokolo (École des hautes études en sciences sociales de Paris, France): Why History? Reflections on the Relevance of the Historical Sciences for UNESCO’s Activities

10.30-10.45: Break

10.45-12.30: Sub-theme: Implementing Peace in the Minds

  • Thomas Nygren (Uppsala University, Sweden): UNESCO Teaches History: Implementing International Understanding in Sweden 
  • Inés Dussel (Departamento de Investigaciones Educativas del Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados, Mexico) & Christian Ydesen (Aalborg University, Denmark): UNESCO and the Improvement of History Textbooks in Mexico, 1945-1960 
  • Aigul Kulnazarova (Tama University, Japan): UNESCO’s Role in East Asian Reconciliation: Postwar Japan and International Understanding

12.30-14.00: Lunch

14.00-15.30: Sub-theme: Practicing World Heritage

  • Aurélie Elisa Gfeller & Jaci Eisenberg (The Graduate Institute, Switzerland): UNESCO and the Shaping of Global Heritage 
  • Agnès Borde Meyer (Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, France): Safeguarding Iran and Afghanistan: On UNESCO’s Efforts in the Field of Archaeology 
  • Celine Lai (Chinese University of Hong Kong, P.R. China): UNESCO and Chinese Heritage: An Ongoing Campaign to Achieve World-Class Standard

15.30-15.45: Concluding Remarks

  • Chief Archivist Jens Boel, UNESCO Archives, France & Professor Poul Duedahl, Director of the Global History of UNESCO Project

15.45-16.00: Closing of the Conference

  • Chairperson of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO, Professor Linda Nielsen, University of Copenhagen