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Cablegate: Unesco - Update On Holocaust Resolution Next Steps

VZCZCXYZ0030
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #1177 1751404
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231404Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3515
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0737
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0333

UNCLAS PARIS 001177

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNESCO SCUL
SUBJECT: UNESCO - UPDATE ON HOLOCAUST RESOLUTION NEXT STEPS

1. (U) SUMMARY: Warning that Washington's end of fiscal year budget
priorities will be finalized soon, the US again asked UNESCO's
education sector for details on the recommendations it will present
to the upcoming Executive Board on Holocaust education. ADG
Education Burnett promised to deliver details next week. END
SUMMARY.

2. (U) Charge d'affaires Engelken and Mission political specialist
Ostroff met with ADG Education, Nick Burnett and Chief of Section
for the Promotion of Right and Values in Education Linda King on 20
June to review progress on the recommendations being prepared for
the 180th Executive Board regarding the Holocaust Education
resolution passed by the 34th General Conference in fall of 2007.

3. (U) (Background: Today's meeting was the result of a misfire by
the Education Sector's extra budgetary fundraiser, Svein Ostveitt,
who called the Mission last week wanting to discuss funding for
Holocaust Education. He was told that we had had no contact with
the Education sector on progress since February 28, and that any
talk of funding was premature before we had more information on the
recommendations that would be proposed to the Executive Board.)

4. (U) Burnett started the meeting by complaining about a lack of
resources, noting that his budget of $33 million per biennium is
insufficient to accomplish the demands made on his sector. He said
that he hoped that his meeting in Washington last week with DAS
Gerry Anderson would resolve the problem, at least in connection
with the Holocaust Education initiatives. Charge Engelken quickly
disabused Burnett of the idea that funding would be available if
Washington didn't have an opportunity to see and comment on the
recommendations before they moved forward to the Executive Board.

5. (U) Burnett noted that he had met with Israeli Ambassador
Kornbluth yesterday, and had discussed possible financing of an
associate expert position dedicated to the Holocaust Education.
(Note: Israel, like the US, does not yet have a memorandum of
understanding with UNESCO to create associate expert positions.
Also, as of one day before the hurriedly arranged meeting with
Kornbluth, the Israelis had expressed their displeasure with
progress made by the Education sector.)

6. (U) Burnett pompously mentioned that he is personally heading a
working group, "to signal the importance of the subject", which met
for the second time on June 19. Linda King said that all of
UNESCO's sectors are represented, except Science. King explained
that they are working on developing ideas that can be worked into a
funding proposal. She added that they are trying to refine the
ideas into something that will produce practical and tangible
results. (Note: Burnett mentioned that they had received the list
of experts, US and others, that had been supplied by the Holocaust
Museum experts in Washington through the Mission, but as far as the
Mission knows, UNESCO has not been in touch with anyone we suggested
they contact.)

7. (U) For the moment, King said that they have three main
"clusters" in mind: The first is working with the Associated
Schools program, UNESCO university chairs, and existing teacher
training programs. The second cluster of ideas is built around the
idea of bringing together a group of experts to look at existing
learning materials and to identify "good practices" on holocaust
education that might be consolidated into a teacher's handbook.
Finally, the third element is to work with the UN Outreach program
by creating a link on the Education Sector's webpage to open an
internet portal via UNESCO.

8. (U) King also said that they are discussing the possibility of
organizing a lunch-time seminar during the upcoming Executive Board
on "good practices" spotlighting the UN Outreach program.

9. (U) Charge Engelken told Burnett that Washington would be
interested in getting some more detailed information about the
recommendations Burnett will send to the Executive Board before we
can seriously look at possible budget assistance. We do not want to
read about UNESCO's plans for the first time when we see the
Executive Board documents in September. Burnett again promised to
deliver a more information next week.

10. (U) Comment: ADG Burnett's attitude during the meeting made it
clear that he was grudgingly granting us an audience only due to our
complaints about a lack of consultation on this since February 2008.
He appeared annoyed throughout our discussion that the meeting had
been necessary. Most disturbing, however, was the Burnett's
apparent position that UNESCO can do little or nothing without
extra-budgetary contributions. End comment.

OLIVER

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