The Australian National Commission for UNESCO, Australia’s
focal point for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation, yesterday celebrated 60 years of active
contribution to the organisation’s work.
“As one of the first nations to become a member of UNESCO
in 1947, Australia, through its National Commission works with
other member states to build a vision of peace through the
dissemination and sharing of knowledge and the promotion and
preservation of the world’s heritage and cultural
resources,” Ms Susan Pascoe AM, Chair of the Australian
National Commission for UNESCO said.
“The National Commission, comprising experts in the fields
of education, science, culture and communications provides advice
to the government, liaises with organisations and individuals on
matters relating to UNESCO and conducts activities in Australia and
the Asia-Pacific region in support of UNESCO’s objectives and
ideals. It also gives high priority to UNESCO programs in the
Pacific,” Ms Pascoe said.
One of the Commission’s recent achievements is to have
Australia’s nominations to UNESCO’s Memory of the World
International Register accepted. Convict records dating from 1788
to 1868 have been added along with the 1906 film “The
Story of the Kelly Gang”, the world’s first
feature-length film, which has allowed Australia to discover the
earliest trace of a beloved myth, part of its collective
The National Commission’s 60th Anniversary was
celebrated yesterday with a reception at the Sydney Opera House for
representatives from Australian educational, scientific and
cultural institutions as well as community groups and prominent
members of the community. It was hosted by Minister for
Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the
Hon. Helen Coonan.
The 60th Anniversary celebration coincided with the
meeting of the World Heritage Committee in New Zealand where the
listing of the Sydney Opera House under the UNESCO World Heritage
Convention is under consideration. Listing would recognise the
Sydney Opera House as ranking amongst the world heritage sites of
outstanding value to humankind, such as the Taj Mahal, the ancient
Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Barrier Reef.
UNESCO Deputy Assistant Director-General, Jim Kulikowski, who is
visiting Sydney for the celebrations, toured the Opera House
yesterday. The decision on the listing is likely to be finalised
“UNESCO has worked tirelessly to create a global culture
of peace over the past six decades, and Australia has sought to
ensure that its work remains relevant and effective in a changing
world”, Ms Pascoe said.
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