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Basic information about UNESCO

Headquarters: Paris

The highest representative: Director-General, currently Audrey Azoulay from France, elected in 2017.

Official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese

Main bodies: General Conference, Executive Board, Secretariat

The main aim of UNESCO is to promote international cooperation and understanding in the field of education, social and human sciences, natural sciences, environment, culture, information, communication, informatics and thus contribute to the consolidation of peace throughout the world. UNESCO is the only professional organization in the UN system which has a mandate to develop the cultural and intellectual potential of the world community.

The UNESCO Constitution

The Preamble of the Constitution states that international suspicion and mistrust, disagreements and conflicts have arised from mutual misunderstanding of peoples and that it was, inter alia, the denial of the democratic ideal, equality and of respect for human beings that made it possible for the World War II to occur. That is the reason why it is important to build peace, to spread culture and to ensure and promote education worldwide.


In 1942, the governments of European countries met in Great Britain with the aim to reconstruct the educational system. A conference that influenced the establishment of UNESCO began on the 1st of November 1945. It was attended by the representatives of forty countries. Their main goal was to create an international organization which would prevent from another potential world war. On the 16th November 1945, the UNESCO Constitution was signed. Hence, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was established. The Convention came into force in 1946, after it was accepted by twenty of its signatory states.

Founding states:

1. Great Britain                                            

2. New Zealand                                             

3. Saudi Arabia                                            

4. South Africa                      

5. Australia                            

6. India

7. France

8. Mexico

9. Dominican Republic

10. Turkey

11. Egypt

12. Norway

13. Canada

14. China

15. Denmark

16. United States of America

17. (former) Czechoslovakia

18. Brasilia

19. Lebanon

20. Greece

Member States

UNESCO currently has 193 Members and 11 Associate Members (Non-Self-Governing Territories). After the split of former Czechoslovakia, Slovakia became a Member of UNESCO on the 9th of February 1993 by succession. USA and Israel left the organisation in 2019.