WASHINGTON—Operating with plenty of optimism and a shoestring budget, the non-profit Americans for the Universality of UNESCO (AUU) is working to narrow the gap between the United States and the U.N. agency it abandoned in 1984.

"Unfortunately," said William Treanor, who serves as the organization's Washington representative, "under [the Reagan] administration we're pretty much a candle in the hurricane."

The group's newsletter, distributed to 1,200 Americans and more than 2,000 persons abroad, reports on UNESCO activities and American efforts on its behalf. Its recent poll of former members of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO found that more than 80 percent believed the United States should be involved in discussions about the future of UNESCO, including the selection this fall of a director-general to replace Amadou M'Bow of Senegal.

AUU was formed, just before the U.S. withdrawal, to fill the communication gap left by the dissolution of the commission, a...

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