Our Origins

‘‘Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed.’’ — adapted from the UNESCO Constitution, 1945

UNESCO was created in 1945 to respond to many nations' belief that while political and economic agreements are a good start, they are not enough to fuel a lasting peace. This belief was forged following the devastation caused by two world wars within a single generation: countries became convinced that peace is not something you can establish on paper alone. It also depends on moral and intellectual solidarity among men and women around the world.

Soon after it was created, UNESCO developed a system of national commissions to help carry out its work locally and globally. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, formed in 1957, is one of them. It was established within the Canada Council for the Arts. Like all UNESCO national commissions, it is tasked with supporting UNESCO’s mission and priorities by reaching out to partners in Canada, including civil society and municipal, provincial and federal decision-makers.

For almost 60 years, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO has been mobilizing Canadian organizations and people to participate in UNESCO’s five core areas: education, natural and social sciences, culture, communication and information.