The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the UN Charter.
UNESCO was founded in 1945 and today has 195 member States (it recently added Palestine in November 2011) and eight Associate Members.
Most of the field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices.
UNESCO pursue its objectives through five major programs: education, natural science, social and human science, culture, and communication and information.
Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmes; international science programmes; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects; the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.
UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".