Building peace in the minds of men and women

History of the Education Sector

In 1942, towards the end of the Second World War, European governments met in the United Kingdom for the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education with the aim of rebuilding their education systems when peace was restored.  

From this, in 1945, a UN Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization was convened in London to establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”.  

At the end of this conference, 37 countries founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which was established by the UN General Assembly on 16 November 1945.

Let us take you on a visual journey through UNESCO’s work in education since 1945.

We have selected 80 photos to illustrate the scale and diversity of UNESCO’s education programme across the globe.

  • Explore the full selection of photos in video
  • Check out the full publication


Education milestones

2020 - Creation of the Global Education Coalition in response to the COVID-19 crisis

2019 - Creation of the Futures of Education commission

2015 - Adoption of the Education 2030 Framework for Action (Paris, France)

2015 - Adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (New York, United States)

2015 - World Education Forum 2015 (Incheon, Republic of Korea)

2014 - World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (Aichi-Nagoya, Japan)

2012 - Third International Congress on TVET: Building Skills for Work and Life (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China)

2010 - World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (Moscow, Russian Federation).

2009 - World Conference on Higher Education “The New Dynamics of Higher Education and Research for Societal Change and Development” (Paris, France).

2009 - Sixth International Conference on Adult Education “Living and Learning for a Viable Future: the Power of Adult Learning”  (Belem, Brazil).

2009 - World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development  "Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade"  (Bonn, Germany).

2008 - 48th International Conference on Education: “Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future”  (Geneva, Switzerland).

2004 - The UNAIDS Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations launches EDUCAIDS, the Global initiative on Education and HIV & AIDS

2004 - UNESCO International Experts Meeting Learning for Work, Citizenship and Sustainability (Bonn, Germany)

2003 - United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012) launched, with UNESCO’s Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE 2005) as Strategic framework.

2002 - Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) declared with UNESCO as lead agency for its promotion 

2000 - United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted to reach the the Millennium Development Goals

2000 - The World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal) adopts the Dakar Framework for Action

1999 - Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education (Seoul, Republic of Korea).

1998 - First World Conference on Higher Education “Vision and Action” (Paris, France).

1997 - Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (Hamburg, Germany)

1994-1995 - Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy, ICE (Geneva, Switzerland).

1993 - International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. The report, Learning: the Treasure Within is published in 1996.

1993 - International Congress and World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy (Montreal, Canada).

1990 - World Conference on Education For All (Jomtien, Thailand).

1989 - International Congress and Declaration on peace in the minds of men (Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire).

1989 - Convention on the Rights of the Child (New York, United States).

1987 - International Congress on the Development and Improvement of Technical and Vocational Education  (Berlin, Germany).

1985 - Declaration on the Recognition of the Right to Learn (Paris, France). 

1979 - International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (New York, United States).

1974-1983 - Recommendation on the Recognition of Studies and Qualifications in Higher Education (1993).

1974 - Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

1972 - Third International Conference on Adult Education (Tokyo, Japan).

1970 - The International Commission on the Development of Education. The report Learning to be (1972) is published.

1966 - International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations

1965 - International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (New York, United States).

1960 - Second World Conference on Adult Education (Montreal, Canada)

1960 - Convention against Discrimination in Education

1959 - Declaration of the Rights of the Child

1953 - Launch of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project.

1952 - Creation of the UNESCO Institute for Education

1949 - International Conference on Adult Education (Elsinore, Denmark). 

1948 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1945 - Constitution of UNESCO