A news update I’ve become aware of (that you may all already know, because you watch the news), concerns the future of the US and our World in a way that seems to matter. “UNESCO” is the “United Nations Educational, Scientific, & Cultural Organization”. It was launched many years ago under the premise that you do not bring peace about by enforcing a cessation of violence, but by developing minds and hearts together. Literally “building peace in the minds of men and women”. More specifically, it came together in the mid-40’s, “In their eyes, the new organization must establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and, in so doing, prevent the outbreak of another world war.”
Sounds like a pretty important effort, right? One that we would not only want to join, but help be an influential voice within? And we did. Until 1984, when we left because UNESCO’s goals were found to be different from our own. But in 2003, (after we were attacked horribly in 2001, and remembered why it’s important to connect hearts and minds globally), we rejoined. President George W. Bush stated, “As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United States will return to UNESCO. This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning.” Ever since 2003, we’ve been a big part. Even as recently as a few years ago, the US Contributions to the UNESCO budget made up over 22% of their operations.
They’ve done great work to connect the scientific developments across the globe. Along with cultural education/sharing/protection, encouraging/promoting rights to eduction and especially of girls/women. They do some pretty incredible and VERY important stuff – for more specifics, check out their report from last year. Education for children, power for powerless, food for hungry, etc.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is, back in 2011, UNESCO voted to allow Palestine participate as a nation. That went against a 1990 US Policy that amounted to “If you invite _____ to the party, we’re not coming.” At the time, some feared that it was a first step into crazy things like Palestine joining the UN. I get it, as a group, Palestine definitely has problems with stability. Some with long-standing land-conflicts..and some from the “Fatah vs. Hamas” conflict within. I’m very limited in my knowledge/understanding, but I don’t like a lot of what I’ve learned about the Hamas side of things. That being said…would I still want to invite them to a global conversation on how to better humanity around the world? I think so? After all, look at the list of nations who are part of UNESCO…we were cool sitting at a table with North Korea.
There was a grace period of a few years, where we had opportunity to keep our involvement/funding. But now we’ve officially lost our “vote” as a part of UNESCO. Whether it was just a final plea for our finances or not, the Director-General made some very powerful statements about why the US needs to stay connected to UNESCO.
So what’s my rant about? I just think it’s important to note that most of the world disagrees with us on this one (in the 2011 vote, out of 159 nations, 13 sided with us). That in order to protect “our own interests”, we’re actually modelling the very behavior that in the 1940’s we set out to combat. That the “interests of humanity” worldwide must always be more important than the “interests of a nation”…if we’re to avoid roads of world war…or even continue living on this earth as the growing collective humanity that we are.
So how do we communicate all of this…something I hardly understand myself…to our children? I’m not sure, but it starts with prayer. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”, not as interpreted by one nation…but for all.