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ERIC Number: EJ767523
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1056-4934
UNESCO: Bridging Three World-Systems?
deJong-Lambert, William
European Education, v38 n3 p82-94 Fall 2006
The history of international education is intimately connected to the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union during the second half of the twentieth century. Graduate programs established at colleges and universities in the United States were the outgrowth of a need to create cosmopolitan experts, capable of demonstrating the "superiority" of American democracy and capitalism, in response to the threat presented by "global communism." The founding of these programs and the creation of related government initiatives such as the Peace Corps did not begin until the early 1960s. However, an understanding of what took place during the early years after the creation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is essential to understanding the ideas and agenda behind their creation. Though intended to promote peace between the two primary world-systems--U.S. and Soviet--UNESCO quickly became an arena in which both sides contested. Though founded in the belief that "ignorance of each other's ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of the suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have too often broken into war," the organization revealed the limited to degree to which respective ignorance was at times both desirable and mutual. This article explores two important, related themes in the early history of UNESCO--both linked to the cold war--to provide an understanding of the context in which the field of international and comparative education developed. First, how early controversy over membership resulted in the deliberate politicization of UNESCO by the United States, and second, how the association in the United States of UNESCO "one-world-ism" with Soviet communism made this possible. Though the former supposedly occurred as a necessary response to authoritarian totalitarianism, it was in fact a product of the latter. McCarthy-era scapegoating and the negative consequences of the cold war created a climate of mistrust, motivating the United States to succeed in imposing a policy where national loyalty was allowed to supercede intellect as a qualification for service in UNESCO. This is a case study demonstrating how the cold war shaped United States policy, as well as an example of how "preserving democracy" has been used to justify its curtailment. (Contains 41 notes.)
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Publication Type: Historical Materials; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia; United States