The United States has decided to withdraw from UNESCO, which will take effect next year.  The U.S. State Department said the withdrawal was due to anti-Israel bias alongside some financial considerations.  They stated a “need for fundamental reform in the organization” and will continue as a “non-member observer state” in the future.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is an agency of the United Nations that–as the name indicates–focuses on the educational, scientific and cultural reforms with nations around the world.  It is a major player in the implementation of UN action when it comes to human rights abuses, be it human trafficking or systematic genocide.  It combats these things by providing education (though it does not accredit higher learning) in the categories listed above and promoting the freedom of the press, among other things.

UNESCO was formed in 1945, only two months after the close of WWII.  The United States had a pivotal role in its inception, and if you look at the original list of members of the delegations, the U.S. has the most people by far, with France coming in second.  They got going the following year and have been active ever since.

In the past 70 years, the UNESCO’s constitution has been changed here and there, but its goals remain largely the same.  It has a significant history in combating government backed racism in South Africa, empowering nations with freedom of speech, and made strides in the field of sustainable development.