Since 1954, the Universala Esperanto-Asocio (World Esperanto Association: UEA) has been able to claim that it works in consultation with UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This dates back to the monumental efforts of Ivo Lapenna, one of the great names in Esperanto history, to pass the Montevideo Resolution at the General Conference of UNESCO in Uruguay in December, 1954.
Having received the petition from Lapenna, the General Conference acknowledged 'the results attained by Esperanto in the field of international intellectual relations and the rapprochement of the peoples of the world' and that 'these results correspond with the aims and ideals of Unesco'. It also noted that 'several Member States have announced their readiness to introduce or expand the teaching of Esperanto in their schools and higher educational establishments', requesting that they 'keep the Director-General informed of the results attained'.
Most importantly, it authorised 'the Director-General to follow current developments in the use of Esperanto in education, science and culture, and, to this end, to co-operate with the Universal Esperanto Association in matters concerning both organizations'.
It took a long time for a Director-General to attend an Esperanto event but when he did, it was the largest on the calendar and one which has passed into collective memory as possibly the best: the Universala Kongreso (World Esperanto Congress) in Reykjavík in 1977.
(And that just happens to be where this blog is being written! No, I never imagined that any country would have such a thing as a National Phallus Museum either, nevermind have the name written in Esperanto on its window, as we discovered this morning when we chanced upon it!)
UNESCO's DG, Audrey Azoulay, made a virtual appearance at this year's Universala Kongreso in Lisbon, greeting the participants.
In her speech, she mentioned that both UEA and UNESCO have worked for many years to defend linguistic diversity and encourage multilingual education, and that is how 'we will create a more open, inclusive and peaceful world'.
She also acknowledged that the slogan of their magazine UNESCO Courier is 'Many voices, one world':
As of 2017, there is an Esperanto version of the magazine:
Its editor is from China, a man called Huang Yinbao, known among Esperanto speakers as Trezoro:
Over 60 years on from Montevideo, UNESCO acknowledged the centenary of the death of Ludwik Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, with the statement 'The idea of a common language has fascinated many people and lots of them made similar attempts at creating one, but Zamenhof’s case is the only one to have achieved world success'. And that's perfectly true. The original vision that Esperanto would become everybody's common language doesn't look particularly close to fruition but Esperanto is relatively successful, the only planned language to have produced a community of fluent speakers, a wealth of literature, and to enjoy consultative relations with august international bodies.