The UNESCO Courier (2018-4) Human rights: Back to the Future

12 November 2018

Benedetto Croce, Aldous Huxley, Humayun Kabir, Harold J. Laski, Lo Chung-Shu, Salvador de Madariaga, Jacques Maritain, F.S.C. Northrop, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin these are some of the contributors to this issue of the Courier.

To mark the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights(link is external), adopted on 10 December 1948, we decided to take a detour into the past to enable us to better orient ourselves in the future. This explains the title of this issue: Back to the Future.

Travelling back to 1946, when the world was grappling with the aftermath of the Second World War, what kind of moral statement could the international community make that would adequately express its collective outrage and hope, however utopian, for a better future? Mark Goodale discusses this massive international effort in his introductory article for our Wide Angle section, which he also guest-edited.

The series of articles in this section uncovers a hitherto little-known part of the history of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights the inquiry into the origins and philosophic bases of human rights. This initiative was decided upon during the first UNESCO General Conference (November-December 1946) and launched the following year by the Organizations first Director-General, Julian Huxley. It was coordinated by the young French philosopher, Jacques Havet.

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