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U.S. National Commission for UNESCO - June 2014 Commission Update

U.S.National Commission for UNESCO
June 2014 Commission Update
Nix-Hines Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO
We are pleased to announce Crystal Nix-Hines has been confirmed by the United States Senate as United States Permanent Representative to UNESCO, with the rank of Ambassador.

Crystal Nix-Hines most recently was Of Counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges in Los Angeles.  Previously, she served as Of Counsel at Fairbank & Vincent from 2006 to 2007, Special Counsel in the Litigation Department of O'Melveny & Myers, LLP from 1997 to 2000, and Assistant to the General Counsel/Senior Vice President of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1992 to 1993.  From 1993 to 1997, she held several positions at the State Department, including Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Member of the Department's Policy Planning Staff, and Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser.  From 1991 to 1992, she clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Thurgood Marshall and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.  She also clerked for Justice William Norris on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 1990 to 1991.  During her career, Ms. Nix-Hines has also been a writer and producer on several network television shows such as Commander-in-Chief, Alias, and The Practice.  She began her career as a reporter for The New York Times.  She received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Poverty Point, Louisiana World Heritage Site

On Sunday, June 22, the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, Louisiana, became the 22nd U.S. site to be inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.  Inscription is a reflection of the "outstanding universal value" of Poverty Point, which "bears a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared." 

Poverty Point is an extraordinary prehistoric earthwork complex located in Louisiana's Lower Mississippi Valley.  It was part of a trading network 3,000 years ago that stretched hundreds of miles across the North American continent.  Poverty Point is a remarkable system of monumental mounds and ridges that were built into the landscape for residential and ceremonial use by a sophisticated society of hunter-fisher-gatherers.  It is a masterpiece of engineering from its time as the major political, trading, and ceremonial center of North America.  


The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee is currently under way in Doha, Qatar, June 15-25.  In addition to Poverty Point, the committee evaluated 36 nominations to the World Heritage List submitted by States Parties to determine which cultural and natural properties of "Outstanding and Universal Value" should be inscribed on the list.  Sites on the World Heritage List are protected under the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. 


Learn more about World Heritage:

U.S. Youth Observer

Created to elevate youth voices in the global policy dialogue, the U.S. Youth Observer at the UN is a role appointed annually by the U.S. Department of State and UN Association of the USA. For a one-year term, an American citizen between the ages of 18-25 is selected to engage young people in the U.S. in the work of the United Nations and international issues. 



The Youth Observer travels throughout the United States to discover the issues important to young Americans and participates with the U.S. delegation at international organization meetings, such as the UN General Assembly opening debates, the UNESCO Youth Forum, and the Commission on the Status of Women. Application Deadline is June 25, 2014 so apply now.


Learn more at:

Our Oceans Conference and World Oceans Day

By Molly Walker

Help Protect Our Ocean

With initiatives and events both at home and abroad there was a worldwide focus on the benefits of oceans and discussing how to best preserve these vital natural resources. On June 10, UNESCO welcomed annual World Oceans Day by releasing the Ocean and Climate Platform of 2015, which links relevant stakeholders in an effort to prepare for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Convention.


Also this month, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the "Our Oceans" conference at the U.S. Department of State, bringing together experts and foreign leaders to encourage a conversation on key areas such as sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification. 


As a Department of State intern, I was lucky enough to view some of the exhibits at the conference and speak with the experts about pressing issues regarding the seas that face the international community. I found myself in awe of the amount of people globally dependent upon oceans for their livelihood. Similarly, it demonstrated how interconnected countries are via their impacts on oceans, bringing a real understanding of the need for "international cooperation."


During the conference, President Obama announced that he will take steps to protect vast portions of the Pacific by creating a marine sanctuary, while also devoting attention to areas of the Atlantic coastline that see their features increasingly damaged by climate change. The plan will create the world's largest marine sanctuary, covering hundreds of thousands of miles. During President Obama's video remarks he stressed the importance of our oceans "We know how fragile our blue planet can be. If we ignore these problems, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures, we'll be cutting off one of our major sources of food and economic growth." 

Learn more about World Oceans Day at:

Read more about the Our Oceans Conference:

Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation 

Professor Mark Brennan (Pennsylvania State University), along with Professors Pat Dolan (NUI-Galway) and Alan Smith (University of Ulster) have announced the "Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation."   

The Symposium will be held August 28, 2014 at Croke Park Stadium to highlight and advance international youth development.  The symposium will bring together experts, practitioners, members of development organizations and youth leaders to create innovative solutions to issues that directly impact youth and their communities.

"The active engagement and development of leadership skills among youth is essential to international security, stability, regional capacity building, and increased quality of life worldwide.  This symposium will bring together UNESCO chairs from across the globe, along with practitioners and members of development organizations, subject-matter experts, and youth leaders to showcase and exchange their experiences and best practices in this area." Dr. Brennan stated in announcing the symposium.

The symposium will develop a series of key policy directions and a major formal declaration on utilizing sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide.  In addition, they will announce  a new Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Children, Youth, and Community, bringing together six chairs, 50 universities and institutions and more than 400 individuals across six continents.

For more information:

Seabourn UNESCO Partnership
By Molly Walker

Cruise ship company Seabourn will be partnering with UNESCO for a six-year agreement to provide travelers with the opportunity to visit World Heritage sites and learn from site experts. The partnership will promote sustainable tourism and protect current World Heritage sites from future damage. When travelers opt to participate in excursions to sites, a portion of those costs will be given to support the fund for World Heritage. In the long term, an expected one million dollars will be raised for UNESCO through the partnership with Seabourn.

UNESCO Director-General Bokova recently noted, "With this partnership UNESCO and Seabourn truly demonstrate our shared commitment in safeguarding World Heritage by promoting sustainable tourism at these iconic destinations. The partnership enables us to reach the traveling public with our conservation message which is universal in scope and so important to the dialogue and mutual understanding that are needed to nurture a culture of peace."


Learn more:

Beyond 2015: The Education We Want

UNESCO and UNICEF are hosting a high-level discussion in Brussels, Belgium on June 26th to "promote a bold new agenda for education and to build support for its inclusion as a central pillar in the post-2015 development framework."  This discussion will be part of a larger Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Replenishment Conference in Brussels on June 25-26.

Stemming from the 2014 Muscat Agreement, where leaders in education from across the globe committed to focus international support behind the goal to "ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030." In addition, the education leaders recommended seven global targets to spur action. The intent of the discussion is to "mobilize education champions to create the political and financial will needed to deliver the education agenda." 


Learn more about the Global Partnership on Education:

Trafficking in Persons Report  

We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common. And our work with victims is the key that will open the door to real change - not just 

on behalf of the more than 44,000 survivors who have been identified in the past year, but also for the more than 20 million victims of trafficking who have not.

As Secretary of State, I've seen with my own two eyes countless individual acts of courage and commitment. I've seen how victims of this crime can become survivors and how survivors can become voices of conscience and conviction in the cause.

This year's Trafficking in Persons Report offers a roadmap for the road ahead as we confront the scourge of trafficking." -- John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

Laura Bush Traveling Fellowship  

The U.S. National Commission is currently accepting applications for the Laura Bush Traveling Fellowship.  The Fellowship is intended to help fund a proposal designed by a student to conduct brief work in a foreign country related to the mandate of UNESCO - using education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and/or communication and information to build strong ties among nations. 

The fellowship open to US citizens (ages 18-25) enrolled in a college or university who express an interest in international collaboration but have not had many opportunities to travel abroad. The application deadline is Monday, September 22, 2014. 

Read more about the Fellowship & recipients:

News from Paris

Recently the U.S. Mission to UNESCO sponsored a screening of the 2012 award-winning 

film Bully to highlight the global anti-bullying work led by UNESCO.  The screening and panel discussion titled, "The Bullying Crisis Worldwide and Its Impact on Education for All," were organized in partnership with UNESCO's Section on HIV and Health Education; U.S.-based Non-governmental Organization GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network); and The Bully Project, a social advocacy project inspired by the film. Bully chronicles the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids in the United States, and reveals a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic, and economic borders.

Girl Up
 By Molly Walker

The United Nations Foundation "Girl Up" leadership summit convened between June 16 and 18 in the nation's capital. Girl Up's mission is to empower American girls by working to shine light on an array of UN initiatives targeted toward improving the lives of young women across the globe that live in dire situations.

The program included a variety of workshops and speakers along with a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill. Participants were able to engage with Congressional members in the hopes of sparking discussion about the Girls Count Act, a bill that seeks to improve birth registries in developing countries.

Call for Literacy Prize Applications


The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes reward excellence and innovation in the field of literacy throughout the world. Since 1967, UNESCO has awarded the Prizes to over 460 projects and programs. They have launched a call for nominations of candidates for 2014 under the theme "Literacy and Sustainable Development".

The Prizes consist of the three UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy and the two UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prizes. Governments of Member States and Non-Governmental Organizations maintaining official relations with UNESCO are invited to submit their nominations.  Entries must be received by June 27th. Interested parties should contact the U.S. National Commission by June 25th at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For more information:

UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music Released by Smithsonian Folkways 


Originally published between 1961 and 2003 but until now out of print, the

UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music is composed of more than 125 albums from around the world. The entire collection, including many previously unreleased recordings, will be published by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in both digital and physical formats. Two albums will be published per week. With recordings from over 70 nations, the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music offers an impressive diversity of material.  


To access the recordings:

Careers in International Organizations
The Department of State launched an International Organization Careers website to help U.S. citizens explore exciting opportunities in the UN and other International Organizations. The website features a searchable database tool to help you find job openings in specific organizations, areas of expertise, and various locations around the world. International organizations are often looking for qualified candidates, including in the areas of international affairs, administration, architecture, computer science, and legal affairs. 
Click here to visit the site and learn more. 

If you have information, news or updates related to UNESCO please let us know.  By sharing your stories and information I hope to keep our community up to date on how UNESCO benefits everyday lives.  
Dates to Note
6/25/2014. Brussels, Belgium, High-Level Event on Education Post-2015
6/26/2014, Warsaw, Poland, Memory of the World Experts' Meeting
8/12/2014, Paris, France, International Youth Day 2014 
9/8/2014, Paris, France, International Literacy Day
10/15/2014, Paris, France, 195th session of the Executive Board
11/6/2014, Washington, DC, Annual Meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO


Contact: Allison Wright
U.S. Department of State | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  | 202.663.0024



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