Author: Ron Kaufman

Though some of those familiar with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) eagerly support a return to the organization by the United States and Great Britain, others say such a move would have no scientific merit.

"By going back we'd only get good will--maybe," says Gregory Newell, the assistant secretary of state for U.S. multilateral policy from 1982 to 1985 and the architect of the U.S. decision to withdraw from UNESCO. "Scientific work does not happen with UNESCO anymore."

Newell says the original reasons for leaving and the only reasons for going back to UNESCO would be political, not scientific: "Is there scientific value to rejoining? Absolutely not." He says there are other U.N. organizations the U.S. can cooperate with that are more effective than UNESCO.

When UNESCO was formed in 1945, the agency played a key role in smoothing...

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