Tag Archives: Irina Bokova

The Youth Report at the Unesco General Conference

Do you remember? At the end of the 7th Unesco Youth Forum, you, young and beautiful delegates coming from all over the world, you voted for a report who was supposed to be presented at the 36th Unesco General Conference. And do you remember? You voted for two young and beautiful delegates, Miika Tomi and Nasma Dasser, to be the ones in charge to present the report to the General Conference. Usually, we tend to forget about the last parts of our project: the forum was great, I met a lot of nice people, I started collaborating with others on amazing projects all over the world, and then, yes, it happens, we forget about the Report.

That’s why, I decided to go back to Unesco (and not only to follow the vote about Palestine, come on), to interview Nasma and Miika, the two chosen delegates with the more difficult task ever: to make the General Conference listen to them. 

Education, sustainable development, youth participation, improvement of the youth forum: these are the main four parts of the report that the young delegates approved at the Unesco Youth Forum. 27 concrete proposals presented to the Conference and one big goal: to raise-up the voices of young people.

Are they really listening to them? They think so and the importance of the Youth Report has been recognized by all the “old delegates”. Is Unesco, the right place in which to work for a real change? As says Nasma, “there is no single way to bring change. If you want to bring it to Unesco, do it; if you want to bring it to your family, your community, your society, just do it”.

That’s a great start. And don’t worry, Nasma and Miika we will continue following you.

@MartCasti

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Palestine at Unesco: when a science fiction change the history

Things I have absolutely to share before it raises the sun, even if I’m exhausted, even if Italian journalism today gave me other bad lessons about how life works (and how “gavetta” suks a lot, because to be in a place is not enough if you are not somebody who has been writing for ages about topics. Maybe I lost the point, isn’t it journalism to document what you’re actually witnessing? Maybe not). By the way, today, in my young and useless life I witnessed a small piece of history and I would like to share with you what I saw and what I got of all this crazy “ambaradan”.

For me, the vote about Palestine entering Unesco will be always represented by the men behind me, one of the delegates of the “League Arabe”: an head bent over a white paper with a black pen, just matching “YES” or “NO” or “ABSTEINED” after every declaration. Canada, no. Usa, no. Spain, yes. Cuba, yes.

While I was sitting on the stairs, in the middle of cameras, televisions and real and professional journalists and while I was just trying to follow the votation, I suddenly realized that man behind me. And I suddenly stop paying attention to the process and I started looking at him: for every yes, one smile and one small jump on the chair, but for every no, he was just saying with a disappointed face “we are no surprised , we know already about you”. And the success of the operation, before to be declared by the President of the General Conference, has been in the eyes of that small men behind me and on his paper, before white and now full of crosses under the column “yes”. He knew already the result, two minutes after the end of the votation, but he was so afraid to have made some mistake that he just spent his time counting and recounting the crosses. And finally, that’s it: beside the problems, the discussions and the doubts, Palestine is the new member of Unesco organization.

I, witness of history, just sitting on the stairs of Unesco, on the far side of the room, between photographer and journalists. So history is something like this? About diplomacy I don’t really understand a lot, but I would like to tell you what I saw.

107 votes, 54 abstentions, 14 votes against is the result who permitted to Palestine to be declared a member state of the Unesco organization. The minister of External Affaires of Palestine, Ryad al-Malik couldn’t hide the emotion: “This is an historical moment for Palestinian people. After a long struggle, we finally got a victory. This is the first step for eradicate the injustice who is affecting our people since the beginning  of our history. Today the world, thorugh this vote is showing us its solidarity and this is an honor for us. That’s why we would like to thank you all the member states, event the ones who didn’t vote for our admission, because since tomorrow we will start a new page of our history and that page will be a page of cooperation with the other states.”

The speech of the minister before the vote was clear: “we want to stress the fact that this vote is not related to our accepation at General Assembly of the United Nations”, said Ryad al-Malik. But right after the positive vote, the pression and the considerations were totally different: “this is the victory for one of our struggles. We’ll continue to work to win the other struggles we are conducting all over the world. Palestine is there and nobody could take it off the map”.

Canada, United States, Israel, Sweden, Germany: some of the votes against the Palestinian admission who made more noises. France, Austria, Belgio, Cuba, Brasil, some of the yes. Abstentions: too many, and Italy first of all. Europe? Totally broken in different positions, showing how difficult is for the European institutions to go on with a clear and unique position on important topics. Europe is one of the loser of this votation, not able to take the ground in defence of one idea. Shocking the vote of France, not clear at the beginning and suddenly turned to a strong “yes”: “maybe we should stop hiding ourselves, it is time to take our responsibility. Starting from now, we don’t have choice any more”.


But the core of the issue is, as you can imagine, in the last line of the room 1: somewhere hidden over there, there are Usa and Israel’s delegates, persons who spoke in the name of an idea, a country and a conflict who is lasting since  a big part of us has seen the light of this world. And what that people said, is what I learnt today from history.

To speak was the Israeli delegate: “I thought that Unesco stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, where Scientific means science and not science-fiction”. (This is strong right?).

And then: “What is happening here is a tragedy for the idea of Unesco. This is a sad day for Unesco who decided to disconnect from reality”.

And this is my lesson: Unesco, today, while voting, while clapping hands after each “yes”, while standing to say “welcome” to the new state, while laughing and smiling for the result, Unesco and its organization staff was totally and absolutely disconnected from reality.

Yes, because reality says that the 22% of the budjet of the organization comes from the fundings of USA and, the United States decided just to stop founding the institution who recognizes Palestine. And, basicly, this means that Unesco could be death tomorrow, without the 22% of the founds. So yes, Unesco was so disconnected from reality who decided to let a state to sit on the room, with his mark, his name Palestine written down officially while there is a big confilict still going on between some of the states who are sitting around the same table. Yes, Israel was right: the decision to let Palestine go in was so unreal, so not logically justified that the only comment could be: why? And all that delegates just clapping their hands, like if they were changing the world, maybe they were just crazy people in a diplomatic room who didn’t really understand that from tomorrow USA could do whatever they want about Unesco and its future.

And then, after all these nice considerations, I went back to the stairs, where it started my long morning and I realized that, wow, this is how history change. This is how change is actually happening: when somebody is so brave just to do something totally disconnected from reality and like a science fiction. Because, I mean, dear Israel and Usa’s delegates, reality is not so good to need to be protected and preserved, and we know, that revolutions are always made by crazy people just doing illogic things, following passions, justice and devotion to their proper values.

People totally disconnected from reality will change the world, because they are the only ones able to believe in what they don’t see yet. 

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Youth forum drafting committee at work

The Youth Forum Drafting Committee is at work in the room 8, working on the final document: everybody can go there and check what they are doing. Delegates are invited to participate with ideas and opinions. So what are you waiting for? This is the time to express your opinion, if there is one possibilities in these days to say what you think is NOW.

 

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Gender equalities: the never ending fight

Just to let you know, here is full of women. My boss is a woman, her assistant is a woman, the boss of my boss is a woman, and the boss of them is another woman: then there is the main group assisting the Director General (a woman, the first one leading Unesco) and guess what: they are all women. So. The problem now is mine: why I am just noticing so much when women are at the top, heading important sectors or institution? Maybe because is so far from what is happening in my country, so terribly far. In Italy, if somewhere there are a lot of women (and if we are not in a school), it means that somebody obliged them to call women representatives. And this is sad.

So somebody of you (especially people who know me), could argue that I am terribly boring always speaking about gender stuff, but I think that it’s so dangerous to forget to fight for it because actually nothing is really changing.

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When the big listen to the little

Could you imagine that at the top of Unesco, in a  room where all the big big big big staff meet every morning to speak about the important stuff of the day there is a big monitor with twitter account??? Yes, I am serious. The big big big staff, is just reading what young delegates twits in order to better understand what is happening over there (Ok they could just go there and watch it, but I mean, this is revolutionary: burocratic people in suits and ties reading twits of 20 years old delegates? I have to be honest, i like it).

The group of youth Bloggers has been called at the morning meeting of this Unesco Staff just to explain what they are seeing and doing in this forum. (Yes, what?). And i swear, they were actually listening at you and sometimes smiling (we’re even funny)!

So just one suggestion young delegates, RAISE YOUR VOICE, because even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like this, THEY (and i mean, the real THEY, the big and powerful one) ARE LISTENING, AND READING.

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