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See detailMediating the Right to Education: An Analysis of UNESCO’s Exhibition Album on Human Rights and Its Global Dissemination in 1951
Kesteloot, Stefanie UL

in Priem, Karin; Comas Rubi, Francisca; Gonzalez, Sara (Eds.) Media Matter: Images as Presenters, Mediators and Means of Observation (in press)

The end of the Second World War was the start of a new era, with worldwide support for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As a UN organisation, UNESCO was assigned to present the UDHR towards ... [more ▼]

The end of the Second World War was the start of a new era, with worldwide support for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As a UN organisation, UNESCO was assigned to present the UDHR towards the global population in an effort to guide them to peace. In 1949, their Department of Mass Communication created three tools to promote human rights: a large-scale exhibition at the Musée Galliera in Paris, a travel album, and teaching handbooks. In my chapter, I will focus on the travel album, and in particular, on article 26: “The Right to Education”. As in the album, the right is represented by a number of images and captions, all related to this article of the UDHR. I will analyse the visuals and the corresponding texts from an intermediate perspective. Does the narrative created by UNESCO actually relate to the meaning of the pictures? Then, I will analyse the global correspondence received on the travel album. How did the viewers understand the album and was it as comprehensible as UNESCO thought? This chapter argues that the promotion and mediation of human rights were based on Western standards of education, making it difficult to spread a universal message. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Educational Economics of UNESCO's First Regional Centre on Fundamental Education in the Immediate Post-War Period: An Archival Exploration
Kesteloot, Stefanie UL

Scientific Conference (2021, June 21)

The end of the Second World War marked the start of a new era, with worldwide support for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 1948. By signing the Universal Declaration, the Member ... [more ▼]

The end of the Second World War marked the start of a new era, with worldwide support for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 1948. By signing the Universal Declaration, the Member States of the United Nations pledged to promote a series of universal values. As part of the UN, UNESCO made a major effort to disseminate the Declaration and its content globally, at a national, regional and local level. The idea of “building peace in the minds of men and women” and encouraging equal rights was central to UNESCO’s mission. An archival exploration of the correspondence material of UNESCO’s secretariat, available at the UNESCO archives, offers an insight into the continuous struggle faced by the staff for the creation and implementation of educational initiatives on human rights. One focus of UNESCO’s work was the area of fundamental education. Early general correspondence found related to this topic reveals the continuous flow of communication between the different UNESCO departments, especially the office of the Director-General and the Departments of Mass Communication and Education. The discussions were mainly centred on the development of centres for fundamental education. The location to choose, the content and methodology to use, and the appropriate strategy to raise the funds needed for the continued implementation of regional centres of fundamental education, were just some of the issues addressed. The initial financial and ideological support from the Member States seems to have been slowly replaced by budgetary constraints and political opposition. A network of international experts on fundamental education helped promote UNESCO’s initiatives to possible funders with a view to creating twelve fundamental education centres all over the world. Their contribution was seen as vital for the implementation of the project. Despite the hard work and lobbying activities, only two of the initially planned twelve centres were established. Through this focus on fundamental education, I will argue that, despite the worldwide support for this philosophical and humanistic ideal, political and economic interests soon came to dominate the transition of this initial project to local communities, creating imbalances in relations within and between nations. Consequently, the dissemination and promotion of the UDHR was subject to a wide range of individual translations by UNESCO’s Member States. This only enlarged the difficult task for the intergovernmental organisation to mediate the development of peace in the minds of men and women. [less ▲]

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See detailDrawing on UNESCO's Archival Sources to Research Literacy Campaigns in Latin America in the 1950s
Kesteloot, Stefanie UL

Conference given outside the academic context (2019)

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See detailOn the Mediation of Human Rights in Times of Cold War
Kesteloot, Stefanie UL

Presentation (2019, April 05)

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