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Give UNESCO another chance

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`SINCE wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that peace must be constructed.'' That felicitous phrasing of the preamble to the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is attributed to British scientist Julian Huxley. Though it would doubtless include women if drafted today, the statement is as valid now as in those optimistic days of four decades ago; it is also just as difficult to bring to reality. With the election of a new director general of UNESCO and the generally positive international atmosphere engendered by Soviet glasnost and the momentum toward peace in Central America, it would seem a propitious time for the United States and Britain to reverse their 1985 decision to withdraw from the organization and publicly indicate their intention to return.

The newly elected leader of UNESCO should assert his leadership and affirm his intention to direct the organization to its original goals of drawing on the advances of science, education, and culture toward the end of world peace.

This could well begin with a clear rejection of the insidious campaign to stifle media freedoms and the free flow of information by an international media declaration, the licensing of journalists under the pretext of protecting them, or ``balancing'' the flow of information.

This campaign dogged UNESCO during the three terms of the autocratic and contentious Amadou M'Bow. In what would appear a direct contradiction of the intent of its constitution, UNESCO has been perceived as embracing a series of proposals that could only result in strengthening governmental controls or other limits on the free flow of information in the world.

If the thoughts of humankind are to be the basis for constructing true peace, people must be free to seek, analyze, and disseminate facts. Only complete freedom of inquiry and freedom to publish the results can offer that possibility.


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