Friday, July 12, 2013

I am ashamed that the U.S. fails to fund UNESCO to work on education for all and girls education!

One child, one teacher, one book can change the world.

Today is Malala Day. Marking her speech to the young people from around the world gathered in United Nations General Assembly hall, the world has dedicated itself anew to Education for All.  The need to educate girls has been especially poignent in the case of this courageous girl who continues to fight for the right to education even after she was shot and almost killed for speaking out on their right to go to school.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is the lead agency in the United Nations system for education. It produces the Education for All Global Monitoring Report and continues to help and encourage developing nations to bring more of their children to school. Still, however, there are 57 million children denied their rights to even a basic education. UNESCO has been especially concerned with the rights of girls to go to schools.

The United States has withheld its contributions to UNESCO for nearly two years because the UNESCO member states, assembled in its General Conference, voted to admit Palestine to membership. Not only has the Obama administration been required to withhold the 22 percent of the UNESCO regular budget (which corresponds to the US portion of the world economy), it has been forced to deny voluntary contributions to UNESCO's efforts to promote Education for All and girls education.

The problem is with laws passed two decades ago that are gravely flawed. They don't have a sunset provision that requires the Congress to reexamine the policy periodically. The also don't grant the White House the normal authority to waive the provision when it becomes advantageous to do so for foreign policy reasons. Now is the time to change the law!

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