WASHINGTON—Scientists are serving as the footsoldiers in the latest campaign to bring the United States back into UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. But theirs is an uphill battle, and their advocacy is forcing them into apparent alliances with some unfamiliar— and, to many people, unsavory—causes.
Last month the scientific community argued its case before Congress, as the House foreign affairs subcommittee on international operations heard testimony on whether the U.S. should rejoin the U.N. organization, which it abandoned in .1984. The U.S. dropped out, along with Great Britain and Singapore, because of its unhappiness with what it considered the radical politics and questionable administrative practices of its director general at the time, AmadouMahtar M’Bow of Senegal. M’Bow was replaced in 1987 by Federico Mayor Zaragoza, a Spanish biochemist who has pledged to carry out major reforms that will bring UNESCO’s former members back into the fold.