United States will withdraw from UNESCO

The San Jose mission is one of five missions granted World Heritage Designation.

The United States has made the unfortunate decision to withdraw from membership with UNESCO. I should probably have some thoughts about this, but I just feel profoundly sad. The Trump administration is a parade of embarrassment, and this is one of a series of anti-science, anti-art, anti-culture decisions. Sadly it may not be the last.

The best reads I’ve found on the decision is this reporting by Eli Rosenberg and Carol Morello in the Washington Post. Jack Morgan also has a very fine radio report for the Texas Standard on how much work goes into seeking World Heritage designation, and how the decision may impact the World Heritage sites in San Antonio.

4 thoughts on “United States will withdraw from UNESCO”

  1. The decision by President Trump is appropriate. UNESCO paid no attention to the U.S. aside from their bank roll. Fincham, its pathetic to see your organization talk about U. S. Cultural sights when in fact you never gave a damn before.

    1. “sites” or “sights” Mr McAndrew? At least Professor Derek Fincham can spell.

      The decision of this government is only ‘appropriate’ to the sort of Philistine, inward-looking and isolationist regime, which is precisely the one being led by the man currently in the White House. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pointed out the other day in a powerful speech, this surely is against all the ideals the US has hitherto stood for. No? [https://youtu.be/wHfReWsDx_g?t=310]

      UNESCO has 195 member states and it is at the basis of the ideas behind it that no “one” nation is there to dictate to the rest how they should decide, whether that be the US, UK or Israel. Surely the point is that it is the US which has shown an odd disregard to the principles of the democratic vote that led to Palestine being at last recognized by that expression of the international community and human solidarity – whether you like that or not.

      Since the organization is there to “build peace in the mind of men” the role of the US generating conflict within it and demonstratively walking out when the other nations chose peaceful co-existence over permanent antagonism gives food for thought.

  2. If UNESCO were a rational and fair guardian of the past, I would defend them as well. They are not. By the way, Paul Barford is hardly a judge of erudition, his thoughts will not move the world to a better place.

    1. The question is, Mr Sayles whether the actual PURPOSE of UNESCO as a whole is to be a “guardian of the past”, rather than a group of people working together (you understand that idea, I hope) for a peaceful future, building on the humanistic values of education, science and culture. In this, fighting the divisive phenomenon of the illicit trade in cultural property is just one (very small) aspect.

      Why are their 195 members “not fair”? To whom? I think we are all curious as to in what way do you think your, personal, “defence” of them is at all necessary…

      (I really do not know why people like you insist on pulling things down to an ad hominem level. It is not I who invented UNESCO – but it is you who are among those who seem not to understand what it is and what it is not and insist on constantly using personal attack as a screen for your own apparent ignorance)

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