Saturday, February 22, 2014

Howland H. Sargeant and Myrna Loy

Howland H. Sargeant is the only American ever to have served as President of the UNESCO General Conference. He did so in 1951 at the GC meeting in Paris. At the time he was serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

He was also on his honeymoon at the time, having recently married actress Mryna Loy, who he met through the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. It is fun to consider the impact the she would have had on the people attending the General Conference. Here is how Lauren Bacall described Loy:
How many women do we know who were continually kissed by Clark Gable, William Powell, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and Fredric March? Only one: Myrna Loy... And to meet whom did Franklin D. Roosevelt find himself tempted to call off the Yalta Conference? Myrna Loy. And to see what lady in what picture did John Dillinger risk coming out of hiding to meet his bullet-ridden death in an alley in Chicago? Myrna Loy, in Manhattan Melodrama.
According to the International Movie Data Base:
Some of her biggest fans included Jimmy Stewart, Winston Churchill, and the Roosevelts. FDR invited to the White House early on in his administration, and she became very friendly with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Sargeant, a Rhodes Scholar, was a career diplomat. In 1947, he had became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs In this capacity, he was a member of the United States delegation to UNESCO and in 1950 was Vice-President of the UNESCO General Conference that met in Florence. In 1952 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, serving in that position for nearly a year.

The American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia founded Radio Liberty in 1954, and Sargeant became Radio Liberty's first president. He held this position until 1975. (Radio Liberty merged with Radio Free Europe in 1976.) He died in 1984.

Myrna Loy was herself very active in supporting UNESCO. She became the first Hollywood star to be appointed a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in 1948 and in the 1950s served as Chair of the Hollywood Committee for UNESCO. Between 1949 and 1954 she served as a film advisor for UNESCO. She also made radio broadcasts supporting UNESCO.

Loy is today best known for her role as Nora Charles in six "Thin Man" movies made between 1934 and 1947. (My childhood neighbor and friend, Dean Stockwell, played her son in the last of these, Song of the Thin Man.) Ultimately, she made 129 movies, and acted in television, radio and the stage as well.

According to Wikipedia:
With the outbreak of World War II, Loy all but abandoned her acting career to focus on the war effort and work closely with the Red Cross. She was so fiercely outspoken against Adolf Hitler that her name appeared on his blacklist. She helped run a Naval Auxiliary Canteen and toured frequently to raise funds.
Late in her life she received an honorary Academy Award and a Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award. She was named Queen of the Movies in a nation-wide poll of moviegoers in 1936

She and Howland Sargeant were divorced in 1960. She continued acting until well into her 70s, and died in 1993.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Phil Hemily: Long time member of the Americans for UNESCO Board of Directors

PHILIP W. HEMILY died peacefully January 7, 2014 in Sarasota, Florida. He was a long term member of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO.  He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Science and Diplomacy in 1996.

Phil was the author of "Looking Back on Science and Engineering in UNESCO: 1946-2004" in Prospects and Retrospects, Volume 1, No. 1, Spring/Summer 2004, pages 22 and 23. He was also an editor of:

From 1984 through 1995 he served as a consultant, senior program officer, and Director of the Committee on International Organizations and Programs of the Office of International Affairs -- the international arm of the National Research Council. In that position, he gave priority attention to U.S. scientific and engineering relations with UNESCO, and with the International Council of Scientific Unions. He was instrumental in the establishment of international engineering organizations, and the follow up to the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development.

During this same period he was also a consultant to the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government; the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the Department of State; the Stanford Research Institute, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Philip W. Hemily retired from the Senior Foreign Service of the Department of State (1983) after serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Scientific Affairs (1976-82) of NATO and Science Counselor to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 1965-1974.

He held senior staff positions at the National Science Foundation from 1957-1965 during which time he was instrumental in creating the international office of the Foundation.

He loved France, where he spent many years. He held a Doctorate from the Université de Paris (1953) and was Chargé de Recherche at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) from 1953 - 1956.

Early in his professional career, he was a research associate in physics and taught undergraduate mathematics at Auburn University, Alabama (1947-1949).

Born 1922 in Newaygo, Michigan, he received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan (1947) after serving three years (1943-1946) as an Ordnance Officer in the U.S. Army during WWII.

Philip is survived by his son, Philip Brendon Hemily of Toronto, Canada, daughters Valerie Hemily of Hilton Head Island and Laurenne Hemily-Figus of Rome, Italy and six grandchildren, Daphne, Julie, Oliviero, Orlando, Amadeo and Rocco.

A commemoration ceremony will be held. Please contact:

Tomas Malone: A Friend of UNESCO

Thomas F. Malone, an influential voice in the expansion of meteorological research and education during the second half of the 20th Century, and insightful commentator on the human future, died of natural causes at his home in West Hartford, Connecticut, USA on July 6, 2013. Among his many honors, he was the second person to be awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Science and Diplomacy.

Dr. Malone was the Chairman of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 1965 to 1967.  He was involved in a number of UNESCO activities in that and other roles.

He was a meteorologist of distinction, who served as president of both the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. He led in the creation of an international scientific network focusing on weather and climate, and was one of the first scientists to raise public concern for climate change.

I knew him when he was Foreign Secretary of the National Academies of Science. In that role he was instrumental in the creation of the grants program of the NAS Board on Science and Technology for International Development (a grant which I managed for USAID, the government funding agency).

Dr. Malone was profiled here as a friend of UNESCO early last year.

Read also:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Frank Method: Education Policy Expert and Friend of UNESCO

There has been a global revolution in education in a single lifetime. The right to education has been recognized, and hundreds of millions of children got new access to schooling. Few people were more responsible for that revolution than Frank Method.
Frank Method (left) and Dick Arndt (right)
lecturing on UNESCO at George Washington Universite
Francis Jerome (Frank) Method died of cancer on December 21, 2013 at the age of 72. He was an expert on education and education planning, who served for many years on the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO. He was employed by UNESCO from 1998 to 2001 as Director of its Washington Office and as an Education Advisor. He also taught a graduate seminar on UNESCO at George Washington University from 2008 to 2010.

Frank was dedicated to education and to international development. His career began when he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria in 1964; he continued as a Peace Corps staff member in Nigeria until 1969. He went on to senior staff posts in the Ford Foundation, and the Research Triangle International. At USAID from 1981 to 1996, as a  senior adviser he led policy development on basic education and skills training, participant training and development communications, He also served as a visiting professor at Stanford University. He later had a variety of consulting assignments with the World Bank, UNESCO, non-governmental organizations and private-sector firms.

His experience ranged from early childhood education through adult and community education, from strategies for improving access to quality basic schooling through the new challenges for higher education and continuing learning, and from the technical issues of education sector planning and pedagogy to the broader issues of how education choices relate to economic and political development, demographic trends, and technological change. During his international career he had field experience and significant sector work in more than 20 countries.

He represented the United States in international groups and policy fora including the International Working Group on Education, the Steering Committee for the World Conference on Education For All (EFA) and related education initiatives and participated actively in the Basic Education Coalition and related advocacy and exchange networks.

He was a resident of Washington DC for many years, and was concerned with its schools. He was active in District of Columbia public education working groups, including facilities planning, technology planning, and school restructuring. He was chairman of the board of Multicultural Community Service at the time of his death.

Frank was a personal friend and colleague for more than 30 years. He was a fine man, and a superb professional who taught me a great deal. I will miss him greatly.

Beloved husband of Bonnie Cain and loving father of Joseph Method, Frank is survived by his mother, Lucille Method and his siblings, The Rev. Fredrick Method, Michael Method, Suzanne Morris, Christie Kangas, Auralee Bussone and Kelly Shadowens.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Albert Baez, Science Educator and UNESCO Pioneer

Albert V. Baez was the first director of science education at UNESCO. Dr. Baez was the director of the science education program of UNESCO from 1961-67. During that period he organized and led a program to improve science education in secondary schools worldwide. The program included projects to improve physics education in Latin America, chemistry education in Asia, biology education in Africa, and mathematics education in the Arab states.

The trail breaking program he developed at UNESCO introduced simple, inexpensive kits to allow science experiments in secondary schools, produced films, and utilized programmed education techniques (which were very innovative at the time) for the teachers of science. The work depended significantly on Dr. Baez' earlier participation in the Physics Science Studies Committee which helped to improve physics education in U.S. secondary schools.

Previously, in 1951, he had served UNESCO in Baghdad. The Government of Iraq had requested of the United Nations assistance in setting up physics, chemistry and biology departments at the University College of Baghdad which was the forerunner of what would become the University of Baghdad.

In the 1980s, he served as chairman of the Commission on Education for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Dr. Baez was a distinguished physicist, known professionally as the co-inventor (in 1948) of the X-ray reflection microscope. He also developed optics for the X-ray telescope.  In 1991, the International Society for Optical Engineering awarded him and his coinventor the Dennis Gabor Award for pioneering contributions to the development of X-ray imaging microscopes and X-ray imaging telescopes.

During his long teaching career he served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and other universities. A Quaker and a pacifist, he refused to use his considerable expertise to advance the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

In retirement, he served as president of Vivamos Mejor (Let Us Live Better), an organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life through science-based education and community development projects in Latin America. He was active in the work of Bread and Roses, an organization founded by his daughter Mimi Baez Farina to bring free live music to people confined in institutions - jails, hospitals, juvenile facilities and rest homes. He endowed the Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award, which is given for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity.

In 1956 (with W.C. Nixon) he published Lectures on the X-ray Microscope, and in 1967 he wrote The New College Physics: A Spiral Approach. He co-authored The Environment and Science and Technology Education, published in 1987, and with his wife, Joan Baez Senior, the memoir A Year in Baghdad in 1988. To those in the international community interested in science education, he is known as a founding father of their work.

To the general public he is perhaps better known as the father who introduced his daughters, Joan Baez and Mimi Baez Farina to music, to the love of peace, and to social responsibility. Dr. Baez was born on November 15, 1912, in Puebla, Mexico, and came to the United States with his family at two years of age. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Drew University, a master's degree in physics from Syracuse University, a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in physics from Stanford University.

Thomas Malone: A Chairman of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

I believe we are at a historical choice point in determining the kind of world our children's children will inherit. If we make these choices based only on the models of our industrial-age past, we will almost certainly miss the true opportunities before us. 
An environmentally sustainable, economically equitable, and socially stable and secure society in which all of the basic needs and an equitable share human "wants" can be met by successive generations while maintaining a healthy, physically attractive and biologically productive environment.
Thomas F. Malone
Thomas Malone was one of the prime movers in the revolution that catapulted weather and climate to a high position on the public agenda during the second half of the twentieth century. He chaired the U. S. National Commission for UNECO from 1965 to 1967.

Malone was born in 1917 in Sioux City, Iowa. Brought up at his parents homestead ranch in South Dakota, his schooling was interrupted in the 1930s by the need to help out on the ranch due to the drought and economic problems of the time.

He finally completed his high school studies in 1936 and attended college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD.

Awarded a graduate scholarship at MIT in 1940, Malone was soon selected to train Naval and Air Force officers in a special program of weather forecasting for military operations. Ultimately, he served as a special consultant to the 19th Weather Squadron at Payne Field in Cairo, Egypt, where he was charged with developing weather forecasts for an alternate route (the Red Ball Express) to military operations in the Pacific Theater. At the end of World War II, he returned to MIT and completed his doctoral studies in 1946.

As an Assistant Professor at MIT, he took a leave between 1949 and 1951 to edit the 1300 page Compendium of Meteorology, a report that set the stage for meteorological research in the second half of the 20th century. That, in turn, led to his appointment to a National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Meteorology charged with framing national initiatives in meteorological research and education.

Invited by a group of universities to prepare plans for what turned out to be the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO, Malone convened a series of planning conferences that produced the famous “Blue Book” – an agenda for NCAR. He later joined NCAR’s Board of Trustees, subsequently serving as its chair.

He left a tenured faculty appointment at MIT in 1955 to join The Travelers Insurance Companies where he went on to become Senior Vice President and Director of Research. He returned to academia in 1970 as Professor of Physics and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Connecticut.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he was elected Foreign Secretary of the National Research Council in 1978.  He also chaired the Academy’s Geophysics Research Board and its Board on Atmospheric Physics and Climate. His overlapping presidencies of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, and his position as chair of the NAS Committee on Atmospheric Sciences, gave him stature to influence President Kennedy in his UN Address to propose a global program to improve weather forecasting and study climate change.

Malone also had a prominent role in the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). He was elected founding Secretary General of the ICSU’s Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) in 1970. In that role, and as a Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Connecticut, he was the lead-off speaker in a conference on “Technological Changes and the Human Environment” in preparation for the UN Conference on the Human Environment to be held in Stockholm in 1972.

He was on the U.S. delegation to the 1979 UN Conference on Science and Technology for Economic Development in Vienna and was was instrumental in the initiation of a grants program in the NAS’s Board on Science and Technology in Development, a U.S. initiative for UNCSTD. It was in that latter role that I came to know Dr. Malone and to respect his contributions (as I was part of the team planning for the initiative and the designated government official to negotiate the BOSTID grant).

Read more in Thomas F. Malone's autobiography (abridged)

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO presents a silver tray to President Harry S. Truman in recognition of his work to found UNESCO. Left to right are Commission Chair Thomas Malone, President Truman, Jennell Moorhead of the National PTA, and Forrest McCluncy, Chair of the Commission's 10th Annual Meeting Committee (11/20/65 - Kansas City, MO)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

William Benton and the Early Days of UNESCO

William Benton
William Benton was Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from 31 August 1945 to 30 September 1947. During that period he was deeply involved in both the creation of UNESCO and of the United Nations. As assistant secretary of state he was in charge of the overseas information programs of the United States. While in office he was also associated with the establishment of the Fulbright Scholarship Act (1946).

It is thought that it was in part due to his influence that "Communications" was added to the UNESCO mandate. A path breaker in the application of modern communications techniques to advertising and deeply cognizant of the Nazi use of propaganda, it seems quite reasonable that he would seek to have UNESCO fight for the freedom of the press and oppose the use of propaganda as part of its efforts to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men.

Benton served as United States Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris from 1963 to 1968.

Benton, after graduating from Yale entered the advertising business, working for others until 1928 when he joined with Chester Bowles to found the Benton and Bowles advertising agency; by 1935, Benton was wealthy and the Benton and Bowles agency was the sixth-largest advertising firm in the world. In 1936 Benton sold the agency to his partners and became vice president of the University of Chicago.

In 1941 Benton purchased the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and remained as Chairman of the Board and publisher until his death in 1973.

He served as United States senator from Connecticut from 1949 to 1953. He is perhaps best remembered in that post for his opposition to Senator Joe McCarthy and for his defeat in the election of 1950 of Prescott Sheldon Bush, father of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush and grandfather of U.S. President George Walker Bush.

Thus as William Benton assumed the post of U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, he was a world famous businessman, independently wealthy, having served his country as both Senator and Assistant Secretary of State. He was also an officer of one of America's greatest educational institutions and the publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition to all that, he was familiar with UNESCO's purpose and its work from its earliest conception. Indeed a representative that the nation could be proud of, one who had earned the respect of other delegates to UNESCO's governing bodies.

Monday, August 29, 2011

George N Shuster and the early years of UNESCO

George N Shuster was a member of the delegations organizing UNESCO in London in 1945 and Paris in 1946,  was an early member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and served as its Chairman (1953-54). He represented the United States on the UNESCO Executive Board (1958-63). He was also the author of UNESCO: Assessment and Promise, a Policy Book published by the Council on Foreign Relations in 1963.

The National Commission is something of an anomaly in that no other UN specialized agency asks its members to establish such commissions. One of the precursors to UNESCO was the International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation established under the League of Nations. That Institute established a structure of committees for intellectual cooperation in various countries, including in the United States. (Since the United States was not a member of the League of Nations, the U.S. Committee for Intellectual Cooperation was privately organized and funded, what would now be called a non-governmental organization.) Thus when UNESCO was established the model of national committees to promote intellectual cooperation was folded into its Constitution in the form of national commissions for UNESCO.

In its earliest days the General Conference of UNESCO was seen by some as a place in which intellectuals from member states would come together representing their countries to give direction to UNESCO's programs and guidance to its secretariat. For various reasons, representation on the General Conference quickly came to be dominated by government diplomats, but the Executive Board continued for some years to serve as a body of intellectuals giving advice to UNESCO; the first U.S. members of the Executive Board included a Librarian of Congress, three college presidents and the dean of a graduate school. George Shuster was one of the last of the breed and after his time the Executive Board too has came to be populated by professional diplomats.

George Shuster served in the Army in World War I. He received his BA from Notre Dame in 1915, a Certificat d’Aptitude in 1919 from the University of Poitiers in France, and a Ph.D. from Colombia University in 1940. He also did graduate work at the Hochschule fur Poiltik in Berlin in 1930-31.

He served as an associate editor of Commonweal (an American journal of opinion edited by lay Catholics) from 1925 to 1929, and as managing editor from 1929 to 1937. From 1937 to 1939, Shuster was a Fellow of the Social Research Council of Columbia University and received a Carnegie Corporation grant to study the Weimar Republic and the Center Party.

When Shuster returned from Germany in July 1939, he was named Dean of Hunter College and became Acting-President in September 1939. Dr. George Nauman Shuster was inaugurated as the fifth president of Hunter College of the City of New York on October 10, 1940 and served until August 31, 1960.

Following World War II he served as Chairman of the Historical Commission sent by the Army to Germany in 1945, and as a member of various Enemy Alien Boards established by the Department of Justice. From June 1950 to December 1951, Dr. Shuster was on leave of absence from Hunter College and accepted the assignment as Land Commissioner for Bavaria, Germany. Dr. Shuster served as representative of the high commissioner to the Bavarian government, and was responsible for the promotion of U.S. policies in the fields of politics, economics, education and jurisprudence. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute of Education.

Following his retirement from Hunter College in 1960, Dr. Shuster became an assistant to the president of the University of Notre Dame and professor emeritus of English at the South Bend campus. Dr. Shuster also assumed the directorship of the Center for the Study of Man in Contemporary Society
until his retirement in 1971.

He was decorated by the governments of France, Austria and Germany and received many honorary doctorates and other awards. He was a prolific author, publishing books of German history and Catholic thought and history as well as on other topics.

Dr. George Nauman Shuster died on January 25, 1977.

Dr. Shuster was perhaps prototypical of the distinguished intellectuals who lent their efforts to the U.S. government during and after World War II, notably in the conceptualization and creation of UNESCO. He continued efforts at international cooperation through UNESCO for decades while busy as an educator, educational administrator and author.