A World Decade for Cultural Development
An international effort in southeast Asia to save an ancient Khmer temple from the encroaching jungle; a massive enterprise in Alexandria to create an ultra-modern institution that will be a worthy successor of one of the wonders of the Hellenistic world, the Library founded by the Ptolemies with the aim of assembling "the books of all the peoples on Earth" ; a major international project to study the "Silk Roads", the great commercial and cultural arteries which once linked China and the West; commemoration of the life and work of a modern Portuguese poet the articles in this issue evoke just four of the many thousands of cultural activities in which UNESCO is currently co-operating.
They assume a special significance this year, which marks the beginning of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997) proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations and "placed under the auspices of the United Nations and UNESCO". The fundamental aim of the Decade, which is introduced in the article overleaf by the Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Federico Mayor, is to restore cultural and human values to their central place in technological and economic development.
UNESCO has drawn up a detailed Plan of Action for the Decade which invites the fullest possible participation from the international community as a whole. The UNESCO Courier will periodically be publishing reports on efforts carried out within the context of the Plan, as part of its mission to present to its readers the multifarious achievements of human creativity all over the world and to encourage a dialogue between cultures rooted in mutual respect and freedom of expression.