U.S. Rejoins UNESCO: A Historic Moment in World Affairs

U.S. Rejoins UNESCO:

U.S. Rejoins UNESCO: A Historic Moment in World Affairs: In a momentous development, the United States officially became the 194th member nation of UNESCO, the U.N.’s education, science, and culture agency. The agency’s board had already welcomed the U.S. back in late June, making the formal entry a mere formality. Secretary of State Antony Blinken personally informed UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azoulay on Sunday that all necessary documents for entry had been signed and delivered.

Azoulay took to Twitter to express her excitement, describing it as a historic moment for the organization, which now boasts 194 member states and moves closer to universality.

While UNESCO is widely recognized for designating World Heritage Sites like Yellowstone National Park, the agency has long been a source of political contention in Washington. The U.S. membership has been intermittent over the years, with different administrations grappling with allegations of bias.

After withdrawing during the Trump administration, the U.S. has now returned, bringing additional resources to support UNESCO’s vital work. Azoulay highlighted that the U.S.’s comeback would enhance the agency’s support for people worldwide, including pupils, students, researchers, academics, artists, educators, and journalists.

U.S. Rejoins UNESCO:

A UNESCO diplomat revealed that the U.S. intends to support all of UNESCO’s initiatives while also providing specific assistance, such as voluntary contributions, to promote education in Africa, protect heritage in Ukraine, preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and ensure press freedom and the safety of journalists.

This marks yet another chapter in the U.S.’s membership history with UNESCO, which has seen withdrawals and reentries. President Ronald Reagan withdrew the U.S. in 1983, followed by reentry under President George W. Bush in 2002. In 2011, President Barack Obama was obliged by law to halt U.S. funding after UNESCO admitted the Palestinian delegation as members. In 2018, the Trump administration completely withdrew the U.S. from the agency, leaving it as an observer, citing alleged bias against Israel.

UNESCO acknowledged the positive changes it has made in recent years, including modernized management and reduced political tensions. The agency commended Director General Azoulay for her mediating efforts in reducing political tensions and achieving consensus on sensitive issues, such as the Middle East.

The Biden administration’s decision to propose re-entry was influenced by multiple factors, including the U.S. Congress granting a waiver to resume funding. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, outlined the proposal in a letter to Azoulay, stating that the administration plans to provide $10 million in private voluntary funding to support UNESCO’s programs, including Holocaust education, journalist safety, cultural heritage preservation in Ukraine, and STEM education in Africa.

With the U.S. back in the fold, UNESCO can expand its programs, including those for Holocaust education and combating antisemitism. Moreover, rejoining UNESCO aligns with the Biden administration’s efforts to counter China’s influence in U.N. institutions, particularly in the realm of education, science, and technology standards.

The U.S.’s active engagement with UNESCO reflects its commitment to global competition and countering China’s influence. By participating in U.N. institutions, the U.S. aims to regain ground and play a more significant role in shaping international affairs.

Read more news at Newstanbul Media. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *