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UNESCO Library
The UNESCO Library site holds bibliographies of UNESCO documents, as well as links to other useful resources.

UNESDOC provides online access to all of UNESCO’s recent publications through a searchable database of .pdfs, often downloadable in several different languages.

UNESCO Histories
The UNESCO histories attempt to be universal, encompassing various philosophies of history, points of view, and approaches. Multi-volume histories have been produced on History of Humanity, History of Civilizations of Asia, General History of Latin America, The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, General History of Africa, and General History of the Caribbean. All the histories are downloadable in .pdf form.

UNESCO Headquarters
Interactive exploration of UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, including panoramic views, pictures, a focus on the Garden of Peace, and details about touring the grounds and buildings. See also the UNESCO page on the headquarters, here.

UNESCO and Race
The evolution of UNESCO’s position on race can be traced through its four major documents, put together in a .pdf by UNESCO itself.

UNESCO Multimedia Archives
UNESCO Photobank
Multimedia news and searches for current and historical UNESCO activities.

UNESCO Legal Instruments
This site documents most of the legal instruments, conventions, recommendations, and other official agreements that UNESCO has issued.

UNESCO Resources: Conventions and Recommendations
UNESCO Resources: Communications Kit
UNESCO Institute for Statistics
UNESCO despositary libraries

Routes of Knowledge: The Global History of UNESCO, 1945-75
This project will explore UNESCO's global impact on its member states throughout the world. The Danish-funded project will run from 2013-2017.


UNESCO treaties form the backbone of the organization’s work, and are often formative documents in creating international, worldwide accord on certain issues.

UNESCO Constitution
The UNESCO constitution, signed in 1945, famously declared that ‘since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.’

Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
This convention, from 1972, was the founding document that led, amongst other things, the the setting up of World Heritage Sites. The website of the World Heritage Centre is here.

UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights
As scientists made leaps of discovery that would lead to mapping the genome and advances in stem cell research, UNESCO in 1997 asserted the nature of human rights as they applied to genetic characteristics, taking it beyond its previous agreements on race.

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity
Declaring the ‘cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature,’ the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was signed in 2001.


Bertacchini, Enrico, Claudia Liuzza, Lynn Meskell, and Donatella Saccone. “The Politicization of UNESCO World Heritage Decision Making.” Public Choice; Dordrecht 167, no. 1–2 (April 2016): 95–129.

Betts, Paul. “Humanity’s New Heritage: UNESCO and the Rewriting of World History.” Past & Present 228, no. 1 (August 2015): 249–285.

Betts, Paul. “The Warden of World Heritage: UNESCO and the Rescue of the Nubian Monuments.” Past & Present 226, no. suppl_10 (January 2015): 100–125.

Brattain, Michelle. “Race, Racism, and Antiracism: UNESCO and the Politics of Presenting Science to the Postwar Public.” The American Historical Review 112, no. 5 (December 2007): 1386–1413.

Brendebach, Jonas, Martin Herzer, and Heidi Tworek, eds. International Organizations and the Media in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Exorbitant Expectations. London; New York: Routledge, 2018.

Coate, Roger A. Unilateralism, Ideology, & U.S. Foreign Policy: The United States in and out of UNESCO. Boulder, CO: L. Rienner, 1988.

Conil-Lacoste, Michel. The Story of a Grand Design: UNESCO 1946-1993: People, Events, and Achievements. Paris: UNESCO, 1994.

Di Giovine, Michael A. The Heritage-Scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009.

Dorn, Charles, and Kristen Ghodsee. “The Cold War Politicization of Literacy: Communism, UNESCO, and the World Bank.” Diplomatic History 36, no. 2 (April 2012): 373–398.

Droit, Roger-Pol. Humanity in the Making: Overview of the Intellectual History of UNESCO, 1945-2005. Paris: UNESCO, 2005.

Duedahl, Poul, ed. A History of UNESCO: Global Actions and Impacts. London; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Duedahl, Poul. “Selling Mankind: UNESCO and the Invention of Global History, 1945-1976.” Journal of World History 22, no. 1 (March 2011): 101–133.

Dutt, Sagarika. The Politicization of the United Nations Specialized Agencies: A Case Study of UNESCO. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995.

Dutt, Sagarika. UNESCO and a Just World Order. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2002.

Elfert, Maren. UNESCO’s Utopia of Lifelong Learning: An Intellectual History. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Gfeller, Aurélie Elisa. “Anthropologizing and Indigenizing Heritage: The Origins of the UNESCO Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List.” Journal of Social Archaeology 15, no. 3 (October 2015): 366–386.

Gfeller, Aurélie Elisa. “Negotiating the Meaning of Global Heritage: ‘Cultural Landscapes’ in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, 1972–92.” Journal of Global History 8, no. 3 (November 2013): 483–503.

Gil-Riaño, Sebastián. “Relocating Anti-Racist Science: The 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race and Economic Development in the Global South.” British Journal for the History of Science 51, no. 2 (June 2018): 281–303.

Hajnal, Peter I. Guide to UNESCO. London; New York: Oceana Publications, 1983.

Harkema, Bram, and Fenneke Sysling. “Dutch Scientists and the UNESCO Statement on Race.” Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitsgeschiedenis / Revue d’histoire des sciences et des universités 11, no. 4 (October 2018): 229–244.

Harley, William G. Creative Compromise: The Macbride Commission: A Firsthand Report and Reflection on the Workings of UNESCO’s International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993.

Hazard, Anthony Q. Postwar Anti-Racism: The United States, UNESCO, and “Race”, 1945-1968. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Hoggart, Richard. An Idea and Its Servants: UNESCO from Within. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.

Iacob, Bogdan C. “Together but Apart: Balkan Historians, the Global South, and UNESCO’s History of Humanity, 1978–1989.” East Central Europe 45, no. 2/3 (November 2018): 245–278.

Imber, Mark. The USA, ILO, UNESCO, and IAEA: Politicization and Withdrawal in the Specialized Agencies. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

Intrator, Miriam. Books across Borders: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951. London: Palgrave, 2019.

Iriye, Akira. Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Jones, Phillip W. International Policies for Third World Education: UNESCO, Literacy and Development. London: Routledge, 1988.

Jones, Phillip W. “UNESCO and the Politics of Global Literacy.” Comparative Education Review 34, no. 1 (February 1990): 41–60.

Jones, Phillip W., and David Coleman. The United Nations and Education: Multilateralism, Development and Globalisation. London; New York: Routledge Falmer, 2005.

Jr, William Preston, Edward S. Herman, Herbert I. Schiller, and Sean MacBride. Hope and Folly: The United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Kulnazarova, Aigul, Christian Ydesen, eds. UNESCO without Borders: Educational Campaigns for International Understanding. London; New York: Routledge, 2017.

Laves, Walter Herman Carl, and Charles A. Thomson. UNESCO: Purpose, Progress, Prospects. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1957.

Maurel, Chloe. “Internationalization and Decentring of UNESCO:” Comparativ 23, no. 4–5 (2013): 68–117.

M’Bow, Amadou Mahtar, and UNESCO, eds. UNESCO on the Eve of Its 40th Anniversary. Paris: UNESCO, 1985

Meskell, Lynn. “Gridlock: UNESCO, Global Conflict and Failed Ambitions.” World Archaeology 47, no. 2 (June 2015): 225–238.

Nihal Singh, S. The Rise and Fall of UNESCO. Ahmedabad: Allied Publishers, 1988.

Nygren, Thomas. “UNESCO and Council of Europe Guidelines, and History Education in Sweden, c. 1960–20021.” Education Inquiry 2, no. 1 (March 2011): 37–60.

Pearson, Christopher E. M. Designing UNESCO: Art, Architecture and International Politics at Mid-Century. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.

Rothschild, Emma. “The Archives of Universal History.” Journal of World History 19, no. 3 (September 2008): 375–401.

Schulte Nordholt, Larissa. “From Metropole to Margin in UNESCO’s General History of Africa – Documents of Historiographical Decolonization in Paris and Ibadan.” History in Africa: A Journal of Method 46 (June 2019): 403–412.

Sewell, James Patrick. UNESCO and World Politics: Engaging in International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

Shepard, Todd. “Algeria, France, Mexico, UNESCO: A Transnational History of Anti-Racism and Decolonization, 1932–1962.” Journal of Global History 6, no. 2 (July 2011): 273–297.

Silverman, Helaine. “Border Wars: The Ongoing Temple Dispute between Thailand and Cambodia and UNESCO’s World Heritage List.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 17, no. 1 (January 2011): 1–21.

Singh, J. P. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) : Creating Norms for a Complex World. London: Routledge, 2010.

Spaulding, Seth, and Lin Lin. Historical Dictionary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

Tocatlian, Jacques. “The Role of UNESCO in International Scientific Communication.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 495 (1988): 84–94.

Uhlenbrock, Christina, and Henk Erik Meier. “Defining an Organizational Role in a Contested Field: The Evolution of UNESCO’s Approach to Physical Education.” International Journal of the History of Sport 35, no. 11 (June 2018): 1130–1148.

UNESCO, ed. A Chronology of UNESCO, 1945-1987: Facts and Events in UNESCO’s History. Paris: UNESCO, 1987.

UNESCO, ed. UNESCO; Twenty Years of Service to Peace, 1946-1966. Document, MC.66/D.63/A. Paris: UNESCO, 1966.

Valderrama Martínez, Fernando. A History of UNESCO. Paris: UNESCO, 1995.

Verna, Chantalle F. “Haiti, the Rockefeller Foundation, and UNESCO’s Pilot Project in Fundamental Education, 1948-1953.” Diplomatic History 40, no. 2 (April 2016): 269–295.

Wells, Clare. The UN, UNESCO and the Politics of Knowledge. London: Macmillan, 1987.

Wöbse, Anna-Katharina. “‘The World after All Was One’: The International Environmental Network of UNESCO and IUPN, 1945–1950.” Contemporary European History 20, no. 3 (August 2011): 331–348.

Wong, Laura Elizabeth. “Relocating East and West: UNESCO’s Major Project on the Mutual Appreciation of Eastern and Western Cultural Values.” Journal of World History 19, no. 3 (September 2008): 349–374.