UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Holland, 2016). It is a branch of the United Nations whose purpose is to promote global security and harmony through worldwide aid and assistance in culture, arts, and education. Its headquarters is located in Paris, France. With over 200 members, including partners, the agency was started in 1945 to replace the League of Nations” International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (Hamen, 2020). UNESCO’s mission is to promote peace, feasible growth, and sustainable human rights by easing dialogue and cooperation. The agency seeks to achieve this goal using five main sectors: education, communication, sciences, and culture (Martin, 2018). It promotes science, supports and funds programs that advance literacy, trains, educates, advocates for journalists’ freedom, advances cultural diversification and preserves culture. Moreover, it also helps translate and disseminate global literature to establish and secure global cultural sites and their significance. It works to unite the global digital segregation and create comprehensive awareness societies via ICT, e.g., “Education for all.” In this report, I dwell on the archival activities of UNESCO, touching on how the agency strives to preserve culture.
Archival activities in safeguarding culture
“Archives are venues filled with the society’s drama, adventures, experiences, and risks.” (Holland, 2016). Archives are important for the continuity of our moral sense as it consists of the informative footprints of life. UNESCO’s corporate archives and archival audio and visual compilations consist of evidence of over 100 years of ideologies and actions for peace and worldwide comprehension that stretch the institution’s wide-ranging grounds of proficiency (Martin, 2018). The history collected originates way back to its forebearers, inclusive of the LNCIC. This program is fundamental as it preserves the major parts of our history and makes them available to us.
UNESCO uses heritage as a source of identity and an important element to empower communities to reconcile them and prevent conflict. Using an exhaustive set of Conventions regarding culture and tradition, the agency provides an exclusive stage for worldwide conversation and participation, boosting understanding, acknowledgment, and respect. These legal instruments aid in advancing national protocols to protect culture and tradition, emphasizing mainly on managing, training, and preserving (Martin, 2018). UNESCO also aids and supports natural and cultural heritage sites like museums, libraries, and archive collections around the globe and leads in the worldwide efforts to inhibit the ravage and illegal trafficking of cultural possessions (Hamen, 2020).
Recently, the agency digitized its archives and historical collections to assist in the access and progression of the content. A fundraising program of digitizing the agency’s archives was started in 2015 by UNESCO. Digitization makes the information collected and archived readily available to people worldwide. According to UNESCO, users will search and discover records within digital catalogs and increase the use of UNESCO’s invaluable documentary heritage (Hamen, 2020). Digitization also assists in documenting more information compared to traditional archiving. Digital surrogates promote the continuity of and access of content and preserve original materials since it reduces the risk of damage by reducing handling, extending longevity, and historical significance (Holland, 2016).
Archival activities are intended to improve culture, heritage, and traditions. UNESCO translates and disseminates global literature, thus establishing and securing global cultural sites and essential significance. It works to unify the global digital segregation and establish comprehensive awareness societies. UNESCO identifies heritage as an important element to empower communities to reconcile them and prevent conflict. Archives and historical collections are significant as they dictate our past and entail our customs and traditions, which are essential as we move into the future. Therefore, UNESCO plays an important role in archiving and collecting stories and ideologies of the present and past.
Hamen, S. (2020, September 4). UNESCO. Retrieved from Safeguarding and preserving culture and heritage: https://en.unesco.org/content/preserving-our-heritage
Holland, M. (2016, April 11). UNESCO. Retrieved from Digitizing, safeguarding and promoting history: https://digital.archives.unesco.org/en/about-the-project
Martin, G. (2018, June 21). UNESCO. Retrieved from Archival and Cultural Activities: https://atom.archives.unesco.org/cultural-activities