The Bush Administration's decision to rejoin the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) offers the US science and engineering community a chance to expand its opportunities for international cooperation and technical assistance, which would support peace, world dialogue, and progress towards sustainable development. The president's decision, supported by the secretary of state, is very welcome indeed, and Congress should be encouraged to provide the necessary funds.
Unfortunately, the United States' 18-year absence from UNESCO leaves it relatively unfamiliar with the purposes and programs of this specialized agency, which was established after WW II to provide a peace-building, cooperative network that would lead, it was hoped, to the solidarity of humankind through intercultural dialogue and technical exchanges.
UNESCO is an intergovernmental organization, headquartered in Paris, with strong ties to nongovernmental organizations, including the International Council for Science (ICSU). UNESCO has a long tradition of concern for the...