Unesco Panel to Ponder the Challenge
to Education of Creating a New
By Barry James
Published: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1993
The population explosion. Violence. Intolerance. Ethnic conflict. The deteriorating
environment. Is history, as H. G. Wells said, "a race between education and catastrophe?"Does
education have a role in solving the great problems of the modern age?
Federico Mayor, the director-general of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural
Organization, believes it does, but at the same time he says people should realize the limits of
what education can achieve.
Mr. Mayor has asked Jacques Delors, the president of the EC Commission, to head an
international commission, which will meet for the first time next month,to seek ways in which
education can be employed to fashion a more tolerant and less violent world.
The Delors commission is scheduled to present its conclusions by the end of 1994. The panel
includes the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes; former Prime Minister Michael Manley of Jamaica;
William Gorham, president of the Urban Institute in Washington; Polish historian Bronislaw
Geremek and several others who might loosely be described as members of the great and the
Theirs will be the first such study since the 1970s Unesco report published under the direction of
the French statesman Edgar Faure, which emphasized the value of lifelong learning. Mr. Mayor
said the Faure report, "Learning to Be," had helped give education a more human face, but that
"20 years on, in addition to learning to be, we must also learn to care and to share."
Mr. Mayor, a Catalan biochemist, said: "At this time, what is needed more than ever before are
values -points of reference. So what we are asking for is an agenda for action based on three
great pillars: nonviolence, equality and liberty. These should be the basis for education in all
countries, no matter what their beliefs, cultural sensibilities or religious principles."
Mr. Delors said in an interview that the commission's purpose is not to introduce new ideologies
but to suggest ways in which men can discover themselves and better respect one another in the