restricted access UNESCO and the United Nations Rights of Man Declaration: History, Historiography, Ideology


During 1947 and 1948, UNESCO made a remarkable, and largely misunderstood, effort to directly shape the content of what became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Although these efforts failed in their objectives, the work of UNESCO during this short period of time (about a year and a half) has been invested with a range of meanings and interpretations that go well beyond the historical record. This article examines this historical process based on new archival research. As the first in a series of publications concerning UNESCO and the prehistory of human rights, the article provides new information about this critical period in the history of human rights.