The United States will rejoin UNESCO, a scientific and educational organization established by the United Nations in 1945 to safeguard cultural heritage, and will pay more than $600 million in back dues. The move is driven by a concern that China will fill the role previously occupied by the US in the agency and thus play a major part in UNESCO policymaking, particularly in regard to global standard-setting for artificial intelligence and technology education. The US, then under the Trump administration,withdrewin 2017 alongside Israel. Both countries cited` participation costs as well as an “anti-Israel bias” on the part of UNESCO, which had allowed Palestine to join in 2011, as the reasons behind their departure.RelatedHELEN FRANKENTHALER FOUNDATION SUED FOR “DESTROYING” PAINTER’S LEGACYBMA CREATES PAID INTERNSHIPS HONORING VALERIE MAYNARD UNESCO’s member states are expected to vote on the restoration of the country’s membership sometime in the next few weeks. Approval is considered highly likely, given that not a single country objected to the suggested return, announced June 12 at the agency’s Paris headquarters. The US at one time was at one time the organization’s biggest funder.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director general since 2017, is widely credited with clearing a path for the US’s return. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma, in a letter delivered to Azoulay last week formalizing the United States’ plan to rejoin, lauded her depoliticization efforts and reform of the organization’s management. Azoulay, who is Jewish, worked to build consensus among Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli diplomats in relation to what theAssociated Presscast as “sensitive” UNESCO resolutions, and then met personally with members of Congress to explain her efforts. Azoulay’s embrace of both parties means that long-term US membership is likely assured, regardless of who wins the 2024 presidential election. “It’s a historic moment for UNESCO,” said Azoulay June 12.
“It’s also an important day for multilateralism.″.