Why the US withdrawal from UNESCO is a step backwards for global cultural cooperation; The Conversation

Palestine – Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town

The US still owes UNESCO millions in arrears.

In a widely anticipated move, the Trump administration announced on October 12 that it is to withdraw from UNESCO, the 72-year-old UN agency which protects the world’s cultural heritage. It is a move that benefits few.

Much of UNESCO’s work – which coordinates international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication – is transformational. While it will continue to operate, the US withdrawal will weaken its finances and central policy focus. The impact of future cultural interventions by the US in other countries may also be weakened, and it will open itself to criticism that they are merely exercises in American soft power.

A communique from the US Department of State cited “US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO”.

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The ultimate guide to South Africa, from hidden corners to Cape Town; Philip Briggs; Wanderlust

South Africa – Maloti-Drakensberg Park

Few countries offer the sheer diversity of South Africa. Plot your way around wildlife-packed savannah, windswept peaks, breathtaking coast and hip cities with our handy guide…

Some bias should be admitted first. I grew up, and live, in South Africa. I also wrote the first international guidebook to the country in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s release, and I’ve since dedicated something like three years to exploring its highways and backroads. Yet, far from harbouring a been-there-done-that feeling about South Africa, it remains my favourite travel destination.

Primarily, this is due to the breadth and depth of its natural attractions. When it comes to biodiversity, ecologists have ranked South Africa among the world’s three most significant countries.

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AIA urges Trump to continue UNESCO’s architecture and design initiatives; Eleanor Gibson; De Zeen

USA – Statue of Liberty

The American Institute of Architects has declared its support for UNESCO after the US announced it is pulling out of the organisation.

AIA urges Trump to continue UNESCO’s architecture and design initiatives after withdrawal

The American Institute of Architects has declared its support for UNESCO after the US announced it is pulling out of the organisation, and encouraged President Donald Trump’s administration to preserve initiatives that “reinforce the value and importance of architecture and design”.

The AIA released a statement yesterday highlighting the importance of UNESCO, following the US Department of State announcement last week that it would be withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), due to “the need for fundamental reform in the organisation”.

After leaving, the US will act as a non-member observer state that contributes “views, perspectives and expertise” to UNESCO’s key issues.

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Op-ed: What the U.S. will lose after its withdrawal from UNESCO; Michael R Anderson; American-Statesman

USA – San Antonio Missions

U.S. must work with others if it hopes to achieve its strategic interests abroad, writer says.

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

So begins the preamble to the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. They were words written in 1945 by the American poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish, who served on the organization’s governing board at its founding at the end of World War II. With the recent announcement by President Donald Trump of the United States’ intention to withdraw from membership in the organization, Americans will lose a voice at an important venue for bettering lives all over the globe and for securing our vital national interests.

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City of Yazd, manifestation of ancient civilization; Mina Ahmadi; Payvand

Iran – Historic City of Yazd

Yazd is the first adobe city in the world and is the second historical city after Venice, Italy. Yazd in central Iran has been a manifestation of the brightest cultural heritage and ancient civilization throughout history with human settlement in Yazd dating back to the third millennium BCE.

Tribes, who migrated from Balkh to Pars, called this land ‘Yazdan’ during the Pishdadi era. The most important early settlements in Yazd include Mehrpadin (Mehriz), Fahrashan or Pahreh (Fahraj), Khormish and Adar (Ardakan), Aqda and Eshkezar.

Yazd is the first adobe city in the world and is the second historical city after Venice, Italy.

Yazd is known as the city of wind towers. In fact, wind towers improve ventilation. They can be seen in residential units and ancient houses.

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Blenheim palace’s Fountain is returned to former glory; Alex Matthews; Daily Mail Online

UK – Blenheim Palace

The fountain, which acts as the centrepiece of the palatial home’s Italian Garden, in Oxfordshire, has been given an extensive renovation to remove years of limescale and algae.


  • Mermaid Fountain IS centrepiece of the Italian Garden in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oxfordshire
  • Made by artist Thomas Waldo Story and installed at Winston Churchill’s home by the 9th Duke of Marlborough
  • Gilded bronze sculpture of a mermaid has become gradually become covered in layers of limescale and algae
  • But a conservation team has restored the fountain by rebuffing and polishing the bronze statue with wax

An ornate fountain at Blenheim Palace has been returned to its former glory after an extensive restoration project saw it covered with 9,000 layers of 23-carat gold leaf.

The Mermaid Fountain acts as the centrepiece of the Italian Garden within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oxfordshire.


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SBI Foundation commits Rs. 10 crore for conservation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai; NetIndian

India – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
SBI Foundation, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) subsidiary of State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, has sanctioned Rs. 10 crore for the conservation and restoration of Central Railway’s iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus – a UNESCO World Heritage Site — in Mumbai over the next three to five years.
Through this project, SBI aims to contribute to the development and preservation of world heritage structures in the country.
The project would involve conservation and restoration of GM building heritage structure south and south  façade, conservation and restoration of  Old Annexe building façade, south façade side open space restoration of ground level, paving, landscape works and restoration of heritage compound wall, museum, and so on.
The restoration work of the heritage building, earlier known as Victoria Terminus (VT), will be done by INTACH, an expert agency, a press release from SBI added.

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