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Tue, Mar 26, 2024, 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Featuring: Ambassador Louise Oliver, IWP Distinguished Fellow, Former U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, and Moderator of the Debate
Location: IWP Main Campus
UNESCO 3.0: A Debate Hosted by Ambassador Louise Oliver

You are cordially invited to attend an IN-PERSON debate and reception:



 Ambassador Louise Oliver

IWP Distinguished Fellow and Former U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO


Tuesday, March 26, 2024
5:00 – 7:30 PM EST


The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036Commodore Barry Room – Marlatt MansionGetting to campus


UNESCO logo on blue background


5:00 pm: Registration and Coffee

5:30 pm – 6:45 pm: Welcome Remarks followed, by “UNESCO 3.0” Debate with Stephen Engelken and Gerry Anderson, followed by moderated Q&A with Ambassador Louise Oliver

6:45 pm – 7:30 pm: Reception with light hors d’oeuvres

About the Debate

In Nov 1945, the U.S. joined UNESCO, a new post-WWII organization designed to promote world peace and security.

In Dec 1984, President Reagan took the U.S. out of UNESCO citing corruption and mismanagement.

In Oct 2003, President George Bush rejoined UNESCO to advance human rights, tolerance, and learning.

In Dec 2018, President Trump took the U.S. out of UNESCO citing anti-Israel bias, and the U.S.’s mounting arrears to UNESCO resulting from Palestine’s election as a full member.

In July 2023, President Biden rejoined UNESCO for the third time to combat increasing Chinese influence at the organization.

Given the problematic relationship between the U.S. and UNESCO, and the organization’s history of controversial initiatives, was this a wise decision? What are the pros and cons for the U.S. of being a member of UNESCO once again?

About the Presenters

Gerald C. Anderson served as Director of Administration and Finance at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC, from March 2014 to July 2021. Prior to joining PAHO, Mr. Anderson served from 2011-2014 as Secretary for Administration and Finance at the Organization of American States in Washington DC.

Mr. Anderson served the United States Foreign Service from 1980 – 2010, completing his serviced as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of International Organizations. Mr. Anderson also served in Foreign Service posts in Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Jerusalem, and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Anderson served in the United States Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa, and in the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Mr. Anderson holds a Master of Arts degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, (1980) and a Bachelor of Arts from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois (1976).

Stephen Engelken is a veteran of 38 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. Notably, he was Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to UNESCO in 2007-2010, serving as Charge’ d’Affaires for seven months in this period. Engelken went on from there to serve as Deputy Chief of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan (2010-2011). Prior to those senior assignments, he served postings abroad in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy; France, and Australia and at the State Department in Washington as Director of Pakistan/Bangladesh Affairs, Director of the Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction, Deputy Director of the office of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations, and Deputy Director of Arabian Peninsula Affairs. Since his retirement in 2012 while Principal Officer in Peshawar, Pakistan, Mr. Engelken has taught at Foreign Service Institute, the State Department’s training center.

Mr. Engelken is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a resident of Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in France. Mr. Engelken speaks French, Italian, and Arabic.

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