Statement by the Director-General of UNESCO on Withholding of Funds by the United States

In this time of economic crisis and social transformation, I believe that UNESCO’s vital work to promote global stability and democratic values is in America’s core interests.

The United States is a critical partner in UNESCO’s work. The withholding of U.S. dues and other financial contributions – required by U.S. law – will weaken UNESCO’s effectiveness and undermine its ability to build free and open societies.

U.S. funding helps UNESCO to develop and sustain free and competitive media in Iraq, Tunisia and Egypt. In Afghanistan, U.S. support is helping UNESCO to teach thousands of police officers to read and write.  UNESCO literacy programmes in other areas of conflict give people the critical thinking skills and confidence they need to fight violent extremism. To sustain the democratic spirit of the Arab Spring, UNESCO is training journalists to cover elections objectively.

Across the world, we stand up for each journalist who is attacked or killed, because we are the UN agency with the mandate to protect freedom of expression. In Washington, earlier this year, I awarded the UNESCO Press Freedom Prize to an imprisoned Iranian journalist, Ahmad Zeidabadi.

UNESCO is the only UN Agency with a mandate to promote Holocaust Education worldwide. Using funding provided by the United States and Israel, UNESCO is developing curricula to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten. Last February I led a historic visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp with more than 150 political and religious leaders, mostly from Arab and Muslim countries.  I still recall the words of Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, who said: “We must teach our young people in mosques, churches and synagogues what happened here.”

With U.S. support we put science at the service of people.  UNESCO is leading a global effort to expand an ocean-based tsunami warning system.  In January, this system saved tens of thousands of lives when a tsunami hit Japan.  In the Middle East, UNESCO’s Sesame Programme enables world-class research and builds scientific and cultural bridges between neighbouring countries, including Israel and Egypt.

The U.S. Government recognizes the value of all this work.  To quote the State Department: “U.S. engagement with UNESCO serves a wide range of our national interests on education, science, culture and communications issues…we will work with Congress to ensure that U.S. interests and influence are preserved.”

UNESCO is encouraged that the United States will maintain its membership in the Organization and hopes that a resolution to the funding issue will ultimately be identified. Until that happens, it will be impossible for us to maintain our current level of activity.

The announced withholding of U.S. dues owed for 2011 will immediately affect our ability to deliver programmes in critical areas: achieving universal education, supporting new democracies and fighting extremism.  So I call on the U.S. administration, Congress and the American people to find a way forward and continue support for UNESCO in these turbulent times.

 

Irina Bokova

2 November, 2011

VIDEO: UNESCO Director-General Statement on US funding cut

General Conference admits Palestine as UNESCO Member State

For its membership to take effect*, Palestine must sign and ratify UNESCO’s Constitution which is open for signature in the archives of the Government of the United Kingdom in London.

Palestine’s entry will bring the number of UNESCO’s Member States to 195.

The vote was carried by 107 votes in favour of admission and 14 votes against, with 52 abstentions.

Admission to UNESCO for states that are not members of the United Nations requires a recommendation by the Organization’s Executive Board and a two thirds majority vote in favour by the General Conference of Member States present and voting (abstentions are not considered as votes).

The General Conference consists of the representatives of the States Members of the Organization. It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each Member State has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget.

The General Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO. It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General.

* c.f UNESCO Constitution, Article XV, on “Entry into force”

The admission of Palestine to UNESCO

Below is the text of the speech made by Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, during the consideration of the item relating to the admission of Palestine as a Member State of UNESCO
Plenary session of the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO.
Paris, October 31, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The admission of a new Member State is a mark of respect and confidence.
This must be an opportunity to strengthen the Organization and not weaken it, a chance for all to commit once again to the values we share and not to be divided.
Let me be frank. As Director-General, it is my responsibility to say that I am concerned by the potential challenges that may arise to the universality and financial stability of the Organization.

I am worried we may confront a situation that could erode UNESCO as a universal platform for dialogue. I am worried for the stability of its budget.
It is well-known that funding from our largest contributor, the United States, may be jeopardized.
I believe it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that UNESCO does not suffer unduly as a result.
I am thinking of those thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan, in Africa and around the world, who have learned to read and write, with the help of UNESCO.
I have in mind Khalida, a young Afghan woman from the Paktika Province, enrolled in a UNESCO training course, who said [I quote]:
“My family was hesitant at first about me joining this programme. But I have learned many new techniques and realized that, as an Afghan woman, I can work together with men and service my community.”
Khalida benefits from UNESCO’s work to enhance literacy in Afghanistan.
I am thinking about the illiterate policemen in Kabul, in Kandahar and other cities, who are learning to read and write to better protect their citizens, thanks to us.
I am thinking of the Iraqi education satellite channel that supports learning to Iraqi girls and boys, including refugees and internally displaced persons.
I am thinking of the hundreds of journalists around the world who are at this very moment harassed, killed or imprisoned, because they stand by the truth — UNESCO stands by them and speaks out for them.
I am thinking also about the stolen treasure of Benghazi, Libya, for which UNESCO was first to ring the alarm bell.

I am thinking of the millions of lives that may be saved by the Tsunami warning system we launched in the Indian Ocean on 12 October, in response to the 2004 natural disaster.
At this time, I know these thoughts are also on your mind.
The fabric of our societies can be easily torn and is long to mend. I am saddened by the possible loss of momentum and energy in UNESCO.
I cannot imagine we would let these women and men down.
UNESCO’s work is too important to be jeopardized.

Our Organization was created sixty six years ago to ensure that education, the sciences, culture and communication bring people together and foster a culture of peace.
This is our role as a specialized agency of the United Nations.
We are committed to taking our vital mandate forward. I appeal to you all to upkeep UNESCO’s ability to act.
In welcoming once again Palestine to the UNESCO family, let me state clearly that we need each and every member of this Organization to be fully engaged.

The admission of a new Member State is a mark of respect and confidence.
This must be an opportunity to strengthen the Organization and not weaken it, a
chance for all to commit once again to the values we share and not to be divided.
Let me be frank. As Director-General, it is my responsibility to say that I am
concerned by the potential challenges that may arise to the universality and
financial stability of the Organization.
I am worried we may confront a situation that could erode UNESCO as a universal
platform for dialogue. I am worried for the stability of its budget.
It is well-known that funding from our largest contributor, the United States, may be
jeopardized.
I believe it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that UNESCO does not
suffer unduly as a result.
DG/2011/147 – Page 3
I am thinking of those thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan, in Africa and around the world, who have learned to read and write, with the help of UNESCO.
I have in mind Khalida, a young Afghan woman from the Paktika Province, enrolled in a UNESCO training course, who said [I quote]:
“My family was hesitant at first about me joining this programme. But I have learned many new techniques and realized that, as an Afghan woman, I can work together with men and service my community.”
Khalida benefits from UNESCO’s work to enhance literacy in Afghanistan.
I am thinking about the illiterate policemen in Kabul, in Kandahar and other cities, who are learning to read and write to better protect their citizens, thanks to us.
I am thinking of the Iraqi education satellite channel that supports learning to Iraqi girls and boys, including refugees and internally displaced persons.
I am thinking of the hundreds of journalists around the world who are at this very moment harassed, killed or imprisoned, because they stand by the truth — UNESCO stands by them and speaks out for them.
I am thinking also about the stolen

Cranberry and Apple Crumble

This sweet-tart crumble is best served warm, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
To be sure you’re using the freshest berries, you’ll want to choose fruit that has bounce in it. Or you can put it to the water test. Small pockets of air trapped in fresh cranberries make them bounce — and float in water.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced (about 1/2 inch thick) apples (try Braeburn or Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

Heat the oven to 375°. Combine the flour, G cup of the sugar, the brown sugar, and the butter in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with your fingertips to create pea-size crumbs. (Alternatively, pulse the mixture in a food processor 10 times or so.)

Combine the apple slices and cranberries in a large bowl. Mix the juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the fruit and toss well.

Spoon the fruit into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle on the flour mixture. Bake the crumble until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Apple Dumplings

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • Premade pastry for an 8- or 9-inch 2 crust pie
  • 4 small, cored baking apples
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Combine the raisins, cranberries, walnuts and spices in a bowl and set aside. On a lightly floured cloth-covered surface, roll out the pastry into a 14-inch square, then cut it into 4 squares. Place a cored apple on top of each square and fill the center with the raisin and cranberry mix.

Cover each apple with its pastry square by bringing the opposite corners up over the fruit and pinching them together. Then, seal together all of the pastry edges, moistening them with water if needed. Place the dumplings in a glass baking dish.

In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and water to a boil, and then pour it over the dumplings (a parent’s job). Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven, spooning the syrup over the dumplings a few times, until the crust is golden (about 40 minutes).

Apple Blossom Tart

This tempting apple tart is a reminder that pie isn’t the only way to showcase the best fruits of the season. Just think of a tart as pie’s slimmer cousin. Both start with a rich pastry dough, but fruit tarts typically have less filling and no top crust. Some, such as this one, are made free-form and baked on a cookie sheet. To make a couple of smaller tarts like the one shown, simply divide the dough in half and split the filling between the two shells. 

Ingredients

PASTRY DOUGH

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter/margerine, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cold sour cream (or Tofutti parve sour cream)

 

FILLING

  • 5 large juicy apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons apple jelly

Instructions

  1. First, make the dough: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, then scatter the butter/margerine pieces over the top. Pulse the machine 8 or 9 times, just until the butter/margerine is broken into fine pieces. Do not over-blend it.
  2. In a measuring cup with a spout, stir together the water and sour cream. Drizzle the liquid evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse the dough for about 8 short bursts, just until large, packable crumbs form.
  3. Dust your hands with flour. Turn the crumbs onto the counter and pack the dough together as you would a snowball.
  4. Place the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap it in the plastic and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour
  5. Get out a large, heavy cookie sheet, preferably one that’s shiny and at least 14 by 16 inches in size. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit it and set the paper aside. Put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place it on the parchment. Dust your rolling pin and the dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking, then roll the pastry into a circle roughly 13 1/2 inches across
  7. Place the dough and parchment onto the sheet, and place the sheet back in the refrigerator. Move an oven shelf into the center position and heat the oven to 375°.
  8. Make the filling: quarter and core 3 of the peeled apples. With a sharp knife, slice the apples thinly — 1/8-inch thick or so. If a child is helping with this step, supervise her closely. Put the slices into a bowl and sprinkle them with the lemon juice. Toss the slices so they’re coated and set them aside.
  9. Quarter and core the remaining 2 apples. Cut them into1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut up the slices into fairly uniform 1/4-inch cubes. Place 2 1/2 cups of diced apples in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon, and stir well.
  10. Put the apricot preserves in a small bowl and stir them briskly with a spoon to smooth out any lumps. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and dot it with the preserves. Use the back of a spoon to gently spread the preserves over the dough, being careful not to tear it. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the preserves.
  11. Pour the diced apples onto the center of the pastry and spread them very evenly across the surface, leaving about a 1 1.2-inch margin of dough at the edge.
  12. On top of the diced apples, arrange an overlapping row of apple slices in a circle, making sure the circle isn’t as wide as the diced apples. (This way, the slices won’t poke through the pastry when you fold it up.) Arrange a second circle of slices inside the first, then a third circle for the center of the blossom. Put the tart back in the fridge for 10 minutes to re-firm the pastry.
  13. Remove the tart from the refrigerator and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the apples. Using the parchment to help you handle the dough, fold the dough in sections up and over the edge of the filling. The dough will form pleats naturally as you make the folds. If the dough tears, just pinch it back together.
  14. Bake the tart on the center oven rack until it’s golden brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. At the 30-minute mark, turn the sheet 180 degrees so that the tart bakes evenly.
  15. Remove the tart from the oven. Heat the apple jelly in a microwave until it melts, about 40 seconds. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of the apples with the jelly. Cool the tart on the sheet for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

UJA Champions for Charity

UJA-Federation of New York is proud to announce its continued participation in Champions for Charity®, an annual holiday shopping benefit that raises funds for more than 70 nonprofit organizations.

 

Thursday, December 1 – Saturday, December 3, 2011

Americana Manhasset
Manhasset, New York

Wheatley Plaza
Greenvale, New York

Designate UJA-Federation of New York as your organization of choice to receive 25 percent of the pretax proceeds.

Register for your Champion Card.

You do not have to be present during the three designated days. Personal shoppers can help those who are out of town, need help with their shopping, or are not able to visit the shopping centers during the benefit. For more information about this complimentary service, please call 1.516.627.2277.

On behalf of the 4.5 million people that UJA-Federation and its network of beneficiary agencies help each year, thank you for making a difference.

For more information, please contact Felicia Solomon at 1.516.677.1856 or solomonf@ujafedny.org.

 

Share This ShareThis

 

UJA-Federation of New York is proud to announce our continued participation in Champions for Charity®, an annual holiday shopping benefit that raises funds for more than 70 nonprofit organizations.

Thursday, December 1 – Saturday, December 3, 2011

Americana Manhasset
Manhasset, New York

Wheatley Plaza
Greenvale, New York

Designate UJA-Federation of New York as your organization of choice to receive 25 percent of the pretax proceeds.

Register for your Champion Card.

You do not have to be present during the three designated days. Personal shoppers can help those who are out of town, need help with their shopping, or are not able to visit the shopping centers during the benefit. For more information about this complimentary service, please call 1.516.627.2277.

On behalf of the 4.5 million people that UJA-Federation and its network of beneficiary agencies help each year, thank you for making a difference.

For more information, please contact Felicia Solomon at 1.516.677.1856 or solomonf@ujafedny.org.


 

Protest ‘Palestine’ UNESCO Membership

To: UNESCO Dir Gen'l Irina Bokova
Your name and address as entered below will be added. You do not need to add your name above.
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The Center for Jewish History Expands its International Fellowship Program

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 – 5:39 am

NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Jewish History, one of the world’s foremost Jewish research and cultural institutions, is pleased to announce the expansion of its international fellowship program to include senior scholars, early career scholars and emerging artists and writers through a new five-year, $750,000 grant from The Vivian G. Prins Foundation.  The grant will support fellowships for those who seek permanent teaching and research positions in North America. The Center’s Prins Program for Emigrating Scholars, Artists and Writers was established in 2010 with an initial grant of $225,000.

The program is designed to help those devoted to advanced study conduct original research in the vast collections of the Center’s five distinguished partners: the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The collections include more than 500,000 volumes and 100 million archival documents. This award allows the Center to serve as the gateway for the best and brightest scholars and artists seeking to begin a new professional life in the U.S.

“The generosity of The Vivian G. Prins Foundation, which has now awarded the Center almost $1 million in fellowship grants, will enable the Center to continue serving as a professional resource for scholars from around the globe,” says Michael S. Glickman, COO of the Center. “The Prins award raises the level of supported research to new heights and will go a long way toward supporting our scholarly initiatives.”

As the Center enters its second decade, the institution has increased its efforts at fostering a community of scholars and ideas by attracting diverse thinkers from a multitude of disciplinary backgrounds. In addition to the Prins Program for Emigrating Scholars, Artists and Writers, the Center supports scholars at various levels, including the only National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Scholar Fellowship granted to a Jewish studies institution; graduate and undergraduate research fellowships; a Visiting Scholars Program; and the Steinberg Emerging Jewish Filmmaker Fellowship.

The Center for Jewish History is located at 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011. For information, call 212-294-8301 or log on to www.cjh.org or www.research.cjh.org.

SOURCE Center for Jewish History

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/26/4007889/the-center-for-jewish-history.html#ixzz1bvFoUm00

Counting Jews

On the eve of the Jewish Federation of North America’s annual General Assembly this year, one might expect the release of a national Jewish population study, since it has been 10 years since the last one appeared.

But there will be no such detailed portrait of the demographics of American Jewry unveiled Nov. 6-8 at the GA in Denver, because in the wake of the controversy over the 2000-2001survey, none was commissioned this time around.

You may recall that the report a decade ago said the U.S. Jewish population was at 5.2 million, about 300,000 people less than was reported in 1990, and that intermarriage was up, but only slightly from two decades earlier. The bigger news was the troubles with the report itself, which was plagued by cost over-runs, lost data and sharp disputes among leading Jewish sociologists and demographers about the methodology and merit of its findings.

Partly as a result of the failure of the study, JFNA, already facing difficult financial challenges, opted not to commission another one last year. Life goes on, but experts in the field say the community is being shortsighted — some say “irresponsible” — in not gathering data on the size, whereabouts and attitudes of Jews around the country to benefit communal planning for the future.

At a two-day conference at Brandeis University this week, dozens of the specialists who direct and analyze these studies gathered to discuss the impact of not having this once-a-decade mother lode of Jewish data, and what to do about it. They noted that a number of communities (including New York) are doing local surveys, but suggested that national studies are vital, and need not be as large, expensive and infrequent as they have been over the last half-century. Several experts said these studies should focus less on figuring out how many Jews there are and more on what the behaviors, attitudes, trends and interests are among those they can identify.

Ironically, major communal leaders lay part of the blame on the lack of a national study at the feet of the very Jewish demographers clamoring for one. The leaders say that the demographers, who have a history of sniping at each other’s finding and methods, have undermined the credibility of the extensive and expensive work produced in the past.

The demographers, in turn, insist they would have little to complain about if the quality of the research was higher.

The two sides need to get together and focus forward rather than backward, recognizing the need for up-to-date information about what American Jews are up to, and why.