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The UNESCO: Strategic Management

UNESCO is a huge global organization, which promotes cultural, educational, and scientific development. It promotes important missions, which are aimed to benefit world society. Collaborating with the majority of existing countries, it has field offices in different parts of the planet. In Saudi Arabia, UNESCO actively helps preserve historical documents and protect them from destruction. Another direction of its professional activity in this region implies improving the quality of education, as there are significant problems in this field in Saudi Arabia. Despite all the strengths of UNESCO and its beneficial intentions, there are some weaknesses, which may bother its operation. They are problems with budget management, imprecise aims, and ethical concern within the organization. The outlined issues should be addressed in its strategy in order to prevent problems with its social image and achieve ambitious objectives in the future.

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Introduction

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a well-known organization, which is aimed to protect cultural world heritage and promote cultural diversity. This company has stable authority around the globe, and has its office almost in each country (“World Heritage”, n. d.). The importance of its missions cannot be underestimated, as they are intended to benefit society and its development in the long run (“UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”, n. d.). UNESCO also draws public attention to local problems, which regard science, education, and culture, and provides essential help with its solving.

UNESCO has its department in the Middle East as well and realizes its professional activity in education quality improvement and cultural heritage preservation. Despite the beneficial mission of the organization, there are some weaknesses in its operation, which may bother it to accomplish the set aims (Fakhral, n. d.; Baskaran, 2016). Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to analyze the UNESCO operation comprehensively and suggest satisfactory recommendations to its strategy in order to avoid potential threats.

Description of the UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a huge international organization, which professional activity implies the protection of cultural and natural heritage around the globe. In 1972, UNESCO signed a convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (“World Heritage”, n. d.). As well as other countries and continents, Arab States, namely, Saudi Arabia has unique and valuable cultural objects, which need protection (“Culture and Development”, n. d.). They are an Evolving Cultural Landscape Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah, the Gate to Makkah Historic Jeddah, and Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia (“Saudi Arabia”, n. d.). For this reason, UNESCO has its branch in Saudi Arabia, which is the focus of the paper.

Therefore, concerning the Saudi Arabia region, the company’s vision involves preserving valuable cultural and natural objects in satisfactory condition in this area. Generally, UNESCO has an ambitious and long-term mission to “encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage” (“World Heritage”, n. d., para. 4). Locally, its mission involves essential assistance in safeguarding and reconstructing valuable landmarks. UNESCO in Saudi Arabia raises public awareness of the necessity to preserve cultural and natural sites and helps to realize this activity in many ways. The organization is also aimed to benefit culture, science, and education development. The core values of the company match its selection criteria for the world heritage list. Summarily, a site should “represent a masterpiece of human creative genius” (“The Criteria for Selection”, n. d., para. 3). It could also be an example of a significant interchange of human values, testimony to a tradition, a prominent artwork, natural phenomena, and other outstanding objects in human culture and nature (“The Criteria for Selection”, n. d.). UNESCO is convinced that these sites and landmarks are worth preserving and protecting.

SWOT Analysis and Its Implications

Being a huge international organization, UNESCO has a range of strengths. Firstly, missions promoted by UNESCO are honorable from an ethical perspective. The organization contributes to preserving unique cultural experiences and draws attention to important historical events, achieving better human understanding. Consequently, UNESCO makes a significant contribution to human culture development, benefiting the population of the whole planet (“Culture and Development”, n. d.). Secondly, it collaborates with 186 countries, which are UNESCO members (Fakhral, n. d.). Therefore, the company’s activity has powerful support around the world. The members’ list includes the following countries:

“Algeria, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Chile, China, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Vanuatu, and Vietnam” (Fakhral, n. d., para. 15)

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Thirdly, the company’s budget comprises mandatory monetary contributions from its members. Therefore, UNESCO is not a funding agency, and it has limited influence within countries (Baskaran, 2016; Fakhral, n. d.). The company strictly follows the realization plan of its mission, avoiding acting on vendible interests (Baskaran, 2016; “Culture and Development”, n. d.). Thus, UNESCO has a stable authority around the world, and its members can trust it without worries and prejudices.

Despite all the mentioned positive sides of UNESCO, there are some weaknesses in the organization’s operation. According to Fakhral (n. d.), occasionally, UNESCO encounters some hardship while dividing the budget on its numerous projects harmoniously. There is a tendency to overspend money on one task and supplying other tasks with insufficient funding. In addition, the organization does not always clarify the aims of particular projects (Duedahl, 2016). They may stay imprecise for the public, which results in misunderstanding of UNESCO activity in some cases. Lastly, recently, UNESCO advanced the necessity to respect cultural diversity as world heritage as well (“Culture and Development”, n. d.). However, Kozymka (2014) described four cases of violating this principle within the company. Therefore, an organization fails to realize its aim and follow one of its values.

The outlined strengths of UNESCO may mean a range of opportunities for its development. For instance, the fact that UNESCO draws attention to pressing concerns in the field of culture, science, and education and promotes beneficial aims, which may significantly improve its social image. This can give the organization an incentive for further expansion for their activity, achieving its ambitions goals (Fakhral, n. d.). Furthermore, having sufficient support from almost every country on the planet, including developed ones, UNESCO’s activity may have an even larger scope in the future. It can set even more ambitious purposes, providing maximum possible benefit for society, promoting tolerance and human understanding (Fakhral, n. d.; Duedahl, 2016). Its strict adherence to its non-profitable aims, may significantly improve its social image, making UNESCO a highly respected company around the world.

The same as advantages may be developed in opportunity for further expansion, the organization’s weaknesses may restrict its operation, posing considerable threats to UNESCO. Budget mismanagement may prevent the realization of ideas, as some projects will lack essential funding (Baskaran, 2016). This also may lead to mistrust of the company, as members will be aware of mistaking in dividing money. Both imprecise aims and not following its value of cultural diversity may significantly affect its authority (Baskaran, 2016; Kozymka, 2014). This may result in breaking collaboration with influential countries and a lack of monetary contribution for realizing UNESCO’s missions.

Analysis of Long-Term Objectives

Currently, UNESCO has a set of long-term objectives, which are to realize in all the parts of the world. They are intended to realize UNESCO’s major mission of preserving valuable cultural and natural objects and make a significant contribution to culture, science, and education development worldwide. Global long-term goals imply:

“Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning; mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development; addressing emerging social and ethical challenge; fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace; building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication” (“UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”, n. d., para. 6).

Apart from global objectives, UNESCO set local aims, depending on a particular region and pressing concerns within its territories. For instance, in the Arab States, the company proposed an education support strategy. UNESCO highlighted significant problems in the educational system in this area (Pigozzi, 2009). The statistics reveal that 5 million children of school age do not attend any educational setting due to lack of possibility, and the majority of them are girls (UNESCO, 2016; Pigozzi, 2009). Moreover, it still appears to be a considerable hardship for poor families to afford school education for their children (UNESCO, 2016). UNESCO (2016) also reports that there is insufficient information and a lack of understanding of the importance of girls’ education in the modern world (Pigozzi, 2009). In general, Arab girls are forced to marry at a relatively early age, preventing them from attending schools and receive comprehensive knowledge.

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The organization indicated the unsatisfactory quality of education in the Arab States, as its level significantly differs between high- and low-income populations. UNESCO (2016) marks: “there is a need to address issues of quality in post-basic education, such as secondary and tertiary education, as well as TVET, which have often not been prioritized” (p. 11). Another pressing concern is the governance of higher education institutions, which require drastic changes and improvements.

Therefore, the long-term objectives in the Middle East respond to the current problems in the field of education on different levels. UNESCO is intended to improve the quality of educational services delivered by a teacher (Pigozzi, 2009). This aim is also supported by providing teachers with better qualification training (Pigozzi, 2009). These are major objectives for the Middle East, which appear to be relevant and sufficient, taking into consideration current challenges in the education sphere.

Another field of UNESCO concern in the Middle East regards its historical heritage, which is another direction of its activity in the region. The company highlights: “valuable archival and library materials that represent the Arab region’s legacy about its history, identity and knowledge face the risk of being lost, destroyed or forgotten about” (“Supporting documentary heritage preservation in the Arab Region”, n. d., para. 1). The reasons for these risks are deliberate destruction, lack of new technological implementation, unsatisfactory housing, and many others. Consequently, UNESCO established a project, “Supporting Documentary Heritage Preservation in the Arab Region”, establishing a long-term objective of protecting Arab documentary heritage. This purpose is also relevant due to significant problems in this field, which should be urgently addressed.

People and Their Capability

Currently, UNESCO employs more than 2200 people around the globe, who have diverse and multicultural backgrounds. Moreover, the company has 53 Field Offices in different parts of the world, and one of them is situated in the Middle East region (“Saudi Arabia: Key facts and figures”, 2021). UNESCO started its activity in 1976, and Saudi Arabia refers to the office, located in Doha, Qatar (“Saudi Arabia: Key facts and figures”, 2021). It covers the following countries in the Middle East: Yemen, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Yemen, and Bahrain.

As it has been mentioned above, UNESCO employees in Saudi Arabia work on achieving significant aims in two directions: preserving cultural heritage in the country and improving education. Employees in this office currently manage two projects. The first one, “Supporting documentary heritage preservation in the Arab Region” (n. d.), intended to address the problem of historical documents destruction and losses (“Saudi Arabia: Key facts and figures”, 2021). The second incentive is “Connect 2 Socotra”, which aim is to “raise awareness on the rich and distinct natural and cultural heritage of Socotra” (“Connect 2 Socotra”, n. d., para. 2; “Saudi Arabia: Key facts and figures”, 2021). Moreover, UNESCO employees take essential measures to protecting valuable cultural objects. They are an Evolving Cultural Landscape Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah, the Gate to Makkah Historic Jeddah, and Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia.

Organizational Culture

In all its field offices, UNESCO established a strong organizational culture. The company promotes an opinion that current political and economic courses in different countries are insufficient in providing sincere support of people. UNESCO highlights the necessity to establish a stable connection between peace and mutual understanding. Peace should be based on intelligence and solidarity with each other (Fakhral, n. d.). The organization’s employees are encouraged to contribute to the development of educational tools, allowing people to live in freedom and tolerance worldwide (Baskaran, 2016). UNESCO is aimed to provide every person, regardless of his or her financial condition and social status, with an education of satisfactory quality (“UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”, n. d.; Brumann, & Berliner, 2016). The company helps different nations establish peaceful and understanding relationships without violence and rivalries via advancing cultural heritage and their dignity.

Another direction of UNESCO organizational culture implies supporting scientific programs and scientific progress in general. UNESCO marks that “it stands up for freedom of expression, as a fundamental right and a key condition for democracy and development” (“UNESCO in brief – Mission and Mandate”, n. d., para. 3; “UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”, n. d.). The company promotes international standards and prompts a free flow of incentives.

The current organizational culture is intended to fight against war actions in general, and UNESCO is also opposed to racism and anti-Semitic violence. Despite the fact that these problems were pressing concerns in the 20th century, these issues still remain relevant in the modern world (“UNESCO in brief – Mission and Mandate”, n. d.; Brumann, & Berliner, 2016). Therefore, all organization’s activity is directed to fight harassment and war intentions, promoting scientific, cultural, and educational development worldwide.

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Considering the organization’s vision and mission, employees are required to do their best to realize the core values of UNESCO and contribute to realizing their long-term objectives. They should also adhere to morality and human and cultural ethics (“UNESCO in brief – Mission and Mandate”, n. d.; Weaver & Nelson, 2017; Brattain, 2007). Their priority should be benefiting scientific progress, education quality, and culture and world heritage preservation instead of serving their personal interest.

Recommendations On Strategy

Generally, the current UNESCO strategy is beneficial for world society and its development in the long run, and the majority of its points should be definitely realized in the future. UNESCO should continue its world expansion and include each country in the world in its membership. The organization’s mission and objectives are worth promoting, as they are helpful for establishing understanding between diverse cultures. They prompt people to be more conscious about each other, their traditions, and opposite cultures, thinking about its perseverance in long-term perspective (Brumann, & Berliner, 2016). UNESCO draws public attention to relevant and hot-button problems, such as the unsatisfactory quality of education in Saudi Arabia. The company advances projects and realizes sufficient measures to address them in collaboration with other countries (Lubis & Hanum, 2019). Therefore, there is no doubt that UNESCO should continue its path to achieve its ambitions aims for making our society better.

However, as SWOT analysis demonstrated, there are some considerable weaknesses. In order to avoid their transformation into threats, which are dangerous for UNESCO operation, it is recommended to consider them in the company’s strategy (Weaver & Nelson, 2017; Brumann & Berliner, 2016). First of all, it is advisable to reorganize budget management within the organization. The expenditures plan should be precise and should include fixed division between projects, which are conducted currently and will be realized in the near future (Weaver & Nelson, 2017; Lubis & Hanum, 2019). This would be helpful in making idea realization more complete.

Another suggestion could be the implementation of strict ethic control within UNESCO. As an organization, which promoted equality, understanding, and tolerance worldwide, it should be an example for other people and countries. Therefore, it is crucial to control the adherence to human rights, integrity, and transparency (Kozymka, 2014; Weaver & Nelson, 2017). This measure will allow to maintain a positive social image of the organization and increase its influence in countries, which are the members of UNESCO (Lubis, & Hanum, 2019; Brattain, 2007). Thus, this recommendation is worth realizing for further expansion and accomplishing ambitious long-term objectives.

The last improvement regards transparency of UNESCO, namely, it is vital to clarify their current and long-term objectives. In case the broad public understands the goals of UNESCO, they will be more confident in the organization and may help realize their intentions (Brattain, 2007; Brouillette, 2019). Moreover, it will considerably improve its social image, stimulating members to trust the organization (Brumann, & Berliner, 2016). The aims should be published on social media and the official website, as interested people could easily find them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it could be mentioned that UNESCO is a huge company with significant potential for further development. It reveals hot-button problems in different parts of the world and draws public attention to them. Moreover, the organization does its best to provide members with essential help in responding to pressing concerns. Generally, UNESCO promotes values, which are beneficial for world society. UNESCO contributes to world cultural perseverance, improving the quality of education, and supporting scientific progress. Therefore, its activity is important and should be supported by its members.

Although there are a great number of positive points about UNESCO, there are some weaknesses, which should be addressed in its strategy. It is advisable to improve budget management, avoiding lack of funding and overspending on its project. This suggestion should be realized by reorganizing the accounting department and required its field offices detailed reports on their expenditures. Moreover, a position of Chief Accountant should be established, who will be responsible for balanced money division. This way, it is possible to solve the current problem.

In addition, it is vital to indicate any ethical concerns within the organization and implement strict rules, which will prevent their reoccurrence. All the employees should be aware that it is absolutely inappropriate for such a company to act the following way. Finally, UNESCO should care for its social image by adhering to integrity and transparency. A sufficient solution could be creating an official account in popular social networks, such as Facebook or Instagram, and regular post reports on their activity and publishes their current aims. This measure will allow its members to monitor their activity and achieve a better understanding of the company’s direction. In general, the mentioned solutions will contribute to making UNESCO a highly respected and successful organization.

References

Baskaran, A. (2016). UNESCO science report: Towards 2030. Institutions and Economies, 8(2).

Brattain, M. (2007). Race, racism, and antiracism: UNESCO and the politics of presenting science to the postwar public. The American Historical Review, 112(5), 1386–1413. Web.

Brouillette, S. (2019). UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary. Standford University Press.

Brumann, C. & Berliner, D. (2016). World heritage on the ground: Ethnographic perspectives. Berghahn Books.

Connect 2 Socotra. (n. d.). Web.

Culture and Development. (n. d.). Web.

Duedahl, P. (2016). A history of UNESCO: Global actions and impacts. Springer.

Fakhral, S. (n. d.). Organization UNESCO. Web.

Lubis, F. R. & Hanum, F. (2019). Organizational culture. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 511.

Kozymka, I. (2014). The diplomacy of culture. Culture and religion in international relations. Palgrave Macmillan.

Pigozzi, M. J. (2009). Quality education: A UNESCO perspective. Routledge.

Saudi Arabia. (n. d.). Web.

Saudi Arabia: Key facts and figures. (2021). Web.

Supporting documentary heritage preservation in the Arab Region. (n. d.). Web.

The Criteria for Selection. (n. d.). Web.

UNESCO. (2016). UNESCO Arab regional education support strategy 2016-2021. The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States.

UNESCO in brief – Mission and Mandate. (n. d.). Web.

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n. d.). Web.

Working at UNESCO. (n. d.). Web.

Weaver, C. & Nelson, S. (2017). Organizational Culture. Oxford Press.

World Heritage. (n. d.). Web.

Zou’bi, M. R., Mohamed-Nour, S., El-Kharraz, J., & Hassan, N. (n. d.). UNESCO Science Report: The Arab States. Web.

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