In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.
UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of solidarity, by:
- Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.
- Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value.
- Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies.
- Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.
The idea first took shape in the minds of the leaders of the Islamic renaissance movement at the dawning of a new age with the awakening of Muslim Ummah. Since the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the prospect of creating such an organization entertained the highest hopes of many reformers and leaders who called for the achievement of Muslim reunification and orderly action in order to serve the best interests of the Islamic nation. This initiative was also set as one of the main objectives of Islamic unity since it was first projected and reaffirmed in its new formulation during the sixth decade of the 20th century.
This idea finally took a concrete form and the dream became reality during the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (held in Dakar – Senegal, 24-28 April 1978). In its Resolution No. 9/9-C related to the recommendations of the First International Conference on Islamic Education, the Conference adopted the following decision: