Building peace in the minds of men and women




Cambria 20217, oil on canvas by Japanese artist Yukio Imamura, has been part of UNESCO’s Works of Art collection since 2001.

More egalitarian? More respectful of the planet? Dominated by new technologies? The world that emerges from the health crisis will bear the scars of this unprecedented collective experience – the near-universal lockdown imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. But will it really be different? And if so, in what way? Much has already been said on the subject.  For months, specialists across the globe have held forth in the media, providing a wide range of opinions. What they have had in common, for the most part, is that they are men. 

As nurses, caregivers or teachers, women have been on the front line in the fight against the pandemic. They have been hit hard by the social and economic crises, confronted with domestic violence amplified by the lockdowns – yet their views  have not been heard enough. 

In this issue, the UNESCO Courier gives women a voice. Political scientists, journalists, sociologists, researchers, writers, and teachers  have drawn the contours of the post-pandemic era – whether it is the future of museums, changes in schools, the rise of disinformation, or the challenges of  scientific research. 

These are all subjects that resonate at the heart of UNESCO's mandate, and around which the Organization has rallied during the crisis –  providing global data on the situation of schools, defending open science, disseminating content to counter disinformation, and supporting education systems and cultural industries. 

This issue paints a sobering picture of our times – highlights the fault-lines exposed by the health crisis, and shows the magnitude of the challenges ahead. It also underlines the potential for scientific, cultural and educational co-operation that this unprecedented event has revealed. If the reflections, the desire for change, and the movements of mutual aid that have emerged are not short-lived, the world really could become a more united, more sustainable and more egalitarian place. 

                                                                                                         Agnès Bardon