“Building peace in the minds of men and women”
UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was founded on November 16, 1945 as a result of the Second World War, which had just ended. The organization’s main goal was to strive to maintain international peace by fostering cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture and by advocating respect for human rights. UNESCO is based in Paris and today has 195 member countries and 9 affiliated members. The Czech Republic became a member state on February 22, 1993.
One of the areas UNESCO devotes itself to is known as “World Heritage,” a term used to designate cultural heritage sites and natural monuments selected by UNESCO for their uniqueness and included on the list of World Heritage Sites. The list includes mountains, lakes, national parks, buildings and entire cities. Signatory countries in whose territory the monuments are located are required to protect them.
The list now includes 1,073 sites in 167 countries; 832 are cultural, 206 natural and 35 mixed heritage sites. Twelve Czech town are listed as UNESCO World Heritage List: Český Krumlov, Brno, Holašovice, Kroměříž, Kutná Hora, the Lednice-Valtice Area, Litomyšl, Olomouc, Prague, Telč, Třebíč and Žďár nad Sázavou.
“Building normal life in the minds of men and women”
UNES-CO (Universal Cozy Organization) is a fictitious company founded by the artist Kateřina Šeda for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, which will take place in Venice, 2018. The name of the organization in Czech, “CO město UNESE,” derives from a play on words. The phrase might be translated as UNES = bear, CO = 1) “corporation,” or 2) “what.” The impetus for creating it was the plight of towns on the UNESCO World Heritage List that are overburdened by tourism. The main goal of the organization is to strive to conserve a semblance of normal life on the part of the local population in the centers of the affected cities. UNES-CO is based in the Czech and Slovak Pavilions in Venice and as of today has initiated a membership negotiations with 195 countries. The Czech Republic became the first member state on May 24, 2018.
One of the UNES-CO’s main areas of concern is “normal life” – that is, activities that have been selected by UNES-CO for their uniqueness and included on its list of endangered activities. The list includes activities linked to life in town centers that are gradually disappearing, such as those relating to family life, childcare, employment, cleaning, rest, play and other activities carried out by residents in both private and public areas. UNES-CO also deals with basic activities intimately bound up with everyday life, such as travel to work and school, shopping for everyday needs, meeting neighbors and taking out the garbage. The signatory countries and the towns in whose territory the endangered activities are carried out are required to protect them.
UNES-CO is working hard to preserve the activities listed as endangered, and has also created new jobs for this purpose. The first town where such positions have been established is Český Krumlov, a popular tourist destination in UNES-CO’s first member state, the Czech Republic. UNES-CO will provide its employees full- or part-time wages and, in some cases, job-related accommodations in the town center from June to August 2018. Their job description states that they must visibly engage in normal life.