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History

Of the very few General Conferences of Unesco held outside the Organization Headquarters was the one held in Beirut Lebanon in 1948.

Upon the kind invitation of the Lebanese government, then represented by the Minister on Foreign affairs and Education, the third session of the General Conference of Unesco was held in Beirut Lebanon between November 17 and December 11, 1948. The Unesco Palace, which served as the venue for the General Conference 3rd Session, was built especially for the occasion and was inaugurated at its opening meeting.

In recognition of the efforts exerted, the General Conference of Unesco, adopted at the conclusion of its third session, the following resolution:

Unesco 1948 General Conference:

"Deeply touched by the generous hospitality of the Lebanese authorities,
Keenly alive to the interest shown by the people of Lebanon in Unesco and its aims and ideals, an interest which is evident of the close kinship between Unesco and traditional Lebanese aspirations,
The General Conference
Expresses
To His Excellency Sheik Bechara El-Khoury, President of the Republic of Lebanon,
To the members of the Government, Specially to His Excellency Hamid Bey Frangie, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Education,
Its deep gratitude
For their cordial invitation to Unesco to hold the Third Session of its Conference at Beirut, for the unsurpassable facilities they have furnished to Unesco, enabling it to hold its meetings in the splendid building specially erected for its reception , and for the unstinting help they have given to Unesco in every direction, for the purpose of ensuring the organization and success of the Conference;
Expresses further its gratitude to Monsieur Maroun for all his efforts towards the preparation and organization of the Conference.
Also, The General Conference,
Recognizing the devoted collaboration extended to Unesco by the Lebanese Press, both in the preparatory stages of the Conference and throughout its work,
Thanks the members of the Lebanese Press for the notice they have given to Unesco, for their ready response to its appeal and for their wide publicizing of the results of the Conference. It is through their help that the public opinion of the Lebanon and, beyond the national frontiers, world opinion have been kept informed from day to day of the progress of the Conference and have been able to realize Unesco's contribution to the development of trustful relations between the peoples and to the maintenance of peace"

Nineteenth plenary meeting
11 December 1948

Initiation

In conformity with article VII paragraph 2 of Unesco constitution, Lebanon was among the very first member states of Unesco to establish its own national commission for Unesco (presidential decree n°12141, June 28, 1948), thereafter known as the Lebanese National Commission for Unesco (LNCU). In turn, and since 1991, the LNCU has been acting as the National Commission for the Arab League Organization for Education, Culture and sciences (ALECSO).

A number of personalities, reputed for their contributions in the areas of concern of Unesco (Education, Science, Culture and Communication) assumed responsibilities at LNCU in their respective capacity as Presidents or Secretaries General.

Tasks

In accordance with its mandate, the Lebanese National Commission assumes four major tasks, which are the outcomes of its "purposes" and "functions" as specified by its statutes and as defined by Unesco's Constitution (Article VII) and Charter of National Commissions.

The tasks are:

• An advisory role, to advise the various national ministerial departments, as well as the national agencies, institutions and organizations on all matters relating to Unesco and ALECSO and their respective programs.
• A liaison role, to serve as a liaison agency between the National bodies concerned with the spheres of Education, Sciences, Culture and information on one hand, and Unesco and ALECSO on the other.
• An information role, to publicize the mission and work of Unesco as well as ALECSO, disseminating their values and promoting awareness of issues that they deal with.
• An execution role under which it is associated, on behalf of its member state, in the formulation, execution and evaluation of Unesco and ALECSO programs and budgets.

Mandate

Being a unique phenomenon within the United Nations system and the Arab League Organization, also specific to their specialized agencies - Unesco and ALECSO, National Commissions are entrusted, within their member states, with the responsibility of making the missions of both organizations known in the widest possible national circles of education, culture, sciences and communication.

Both organizations, having the same areas of competence mandated the national commission with the following:

• To ensure their active presence in the member state through education science, culture and communication
• To promote awareness of the two organizations' ideals and objectives within their framework of responsibilities
• To involve national intellectuals and scholars, as well as communities known for their contributions to the advancement of education, science, culture and communication, in the organizations' respective activities and programs.

Organizational Structure

The Lebanese National Commission for Unesco is an autonomous body that works in close coordination with the Ministry of Culture. It carries out its tasks and functions through its 4 bodies being; the General Assembly, the Executive Committee, the Program Committees and the Permanent Secretariat.

General Assembly:
According to the statutes of the LNCU, the General Assembly may comprise up to 21 members, designated by the Ministry of Culture for a term of 3 years. They normally represent the various institutions working in the area of competence of Unesco. The General Assembly elects its president, as well as the members of the executive bureau. It meets regularly, around twice a year, to discuss and approve the annual budget and the activity programs of the National Commission. The meetings are presided by the Commission president.

Executive Bureau:
The executive bureau is composed of 9 members, including the president, the vice president, the treasurer and the secretary general. It meets monthly and discusses issues of financial and administrative nature, as well as program activities.

The Program Committees:
In line with Unesco's structure, the members of the general assembly are grouped into 4 specialized committees, relevant to the field of competence of Unesco. Each committee has a rapporteur, and between 5 and 7 members who meet periodically and as need be.

The Permanent Secretariat:
The Permanent Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General. It has 10 staff members who see to the day to day execution and follow up of the various activities of the National Commission.