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Cablegate: Singapore Moves From Observer to Member of Unesco

VZCZCXRO5337
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGP #1880 2830937
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100937Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4211
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0861
RUEHFR/USMISSION UNESCO PARIS 0002

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001880

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SOCI CUL UNPAR UNESCO
SUBJECT: SINGAPORE MOVES FROM OBSERVER TO MEMBER OF UNESCO


1. (U) Singapore rejoined the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) October 8,
after pulling out of the organization 22 years ago. Singapore
became a full member of UNESCO in 1965 but withdrew from the
group in 1985 citing unfair dues calculations and unhappiness
with UNESCO's policies and management. Singapore was an
Observer for the past two years. The Ministry of Education
issued a press release announcing the change and unveiling
details of Singapore's National Commission for UNESCO. The
Commission, comprising three Sub-Commissions focusing on
Education, Science, Culture and Information, will be set up
by the end of the year. It will plan and coordinate
Singapore's activities and programs in UNESCO. Minister of
State for Education and Manpower Mr. Gan Kim Yong is to be
Chairman of the National Commission.

2. (U) A Ministry of Education spokesman said that Singapore
looks forward to collaborating with and learning from other
UNESCO member states in the key areas of education, science
and culture. The Ministry spokesman also announced Gan will
lead a Singapore delegation to attend the 34th session of the
UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France on 16 October
comprised of officials from the Ministries of Education,
Foreign Affairs, The Environment and Water Resources, and the
Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts.

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3. (U) Minister Gan is quoted in an October 8 Straits Times
article saying that it is in "Singapore's interest" to engage
in UNESCO. Singapore can learn from other member countries
how to improve its education system, he said, and is "keen on
cultural and scientific exchanges with other UNESCO members
in its push to build a knowledge-based economy."

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
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