Newsletter 04
The quarterly SHS Newsletter provides information on the work of UNESCO in the field of social and human sciences.
Foresight - the future in the present - January-March 2004
Newsletter 04 Human rights, democracy and peace are SHS’s priorities for this biennium. I would like to share with you some of UNESCO’s initiatives that are working towards these objectives.

Cities against Racism
The International Coalition of Cities United against Racism and Exclusion is an initiative launched by SHS that seeks to establish a network of cities interested in combining their experience in the fight against racism, discrimination, exclusion and intolerance. The city does not have to be a place where cultural differences lead to irrational fears, intolerant ideologies or discrimination. Instead it can function as a laboratory for learning how to live together and how to benefit from the rich exchange of beliefs, attitudes and ways of life that a city can provide. Seizing upon the positive aspects of city life has the power to transform society by creating a new form of democratic citizenship. So in order to strengthen these positive aspects, cities from different regions of the world will draw up an ethical Charter and plans of action.

The Promotion of Democratic Principles
Byblos (Lebanon), the city that invented the alphabet, is the seat of the International Centre of Human Sciences, a UNESCO institute in charge of coordinating the Sector’s work on the promotion of democratic principles and the analysis of the democratization process. The work of the centre will take the form of three major programmes: an empirical research programme designed to test the hypothesis that democratic aspiration is universal regardless of the religious or cultural context; a conceptual and analytical research programme that aims to support the international dialogue and publications of the International Panel on Democracy and Development (IPDD); and a research programme and plan of action on the democratization process in areas of post-conflict.

Dialogues between Civil Societies
The third programme I wish to bring to your attention is called "Civil Societies in dialogue". The first location for the execution of this programme will be in Israel and Palestine. UNESCO’s aim is to engage intellectuals and civil society organizations in charting a vision for the future while using methodologies conducive to having an impact on public opinion. The project has a dual purpose: to establish a permanent dialogue in Israel and Palestine thus allowing representatives of both sides to establish together different types of partnerships and action; and the promotion of cooperation between researchers in Israeli and Palestinian universities so they can approach together policy issues through research and policy advice.

During a ten-day mission in January 2004 to nine cities it became apparent to us that despite difficulties and certain disagreements concerning methods, a number of individuals and groups are trying to rebuild communication between the two societies. Therefore the presence of UNESCO as a third party is both important and welcome.

Tolerance, justice, respect and human dignity are values that UNESCO defends and promotes through its various programmes. In the case of the programmes mentioned above, it is our duty to put the values of the Organization into practice in order to fulfil the objectives of each activity. It is crucial that those who implement these programmes be themselves imbued with these values. As Mahatma Gandhi said: first, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Pierre Sané
Assistant Director-General
for Social and Human Sciences

p.3 Social Sciences Palestinian women / p.4 Interview Ioanna Kuçuradi / p.8 Human Rights Tradition and Human Rights: the rise of bride abduction in Kyrgyzstan / p.11 Human Security * Democracy / p.12 Dossier Foresight Foresight: the future in the present * 21 st Century Talks and Dialogues - perceptions and prospects / p.20 Social Transformations A changing medina * Bridge Initiative * Migration and Human Rights: towards a world without borders? * Linking Art with Research and Action / p.24 Ethics South American Ministers’ Declaration / p.26 Human sciences Philosophy Day / p.30 Just published / p.32 News A first for human rights * Calendar

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Author(s) UNESCO
Periodical Name Newsletter
Publication date 2004 - 03
Publisher UNESCO
Publication Location Paris
Number of pages 32 p.
Keywords social sciences