From 22 to 24 November 1996 an Expert Meeting on "UNESCO and Mathematics" was held at the UNESCO Venice Office.
Outstanding mathematicians from various parts of the world, as well as representatives of several important international organizations, like AMU, IMU, ICMS, ICPAM, ICTP and UNESCO, participated in this meeting.
The meeting dealt with the important role of Mathematics in modern society, through its relationship with the other scientific disciplines.
Emphasis was laid on UNESCO's role in the development of Mathematics, in particular in developing countries, through fruitful collaboration with the other organizations mentioned above. Past and present mathematical activities, including the prospects of further development within UNESCO's "Basic Sciences" Program, were also evaluated.
At the conclusion of the Expert Meeting the following recommendations were made for future action :
General recommendations and the role of UNESCO
It is proposed that UNESCO strongly support the establishment and consolidation of regional networks in Mathematics .
The relationship between UNESCO and International Centres dealing with Mathematics should be reinforced, including financially.
Efforts should be made by UNESCO to ensure that mathematicians from developing countries have access to electronic data bases and the other modern means of communication that are so important in industrial and technological development.
UNESCO should support the establishment of a Clearing House to compile, test, analyse, evaluate, promote and disseminate newly developed educational and informative technologies in Mathematics education.
A special fund should be set up to foster specific activities geared towards fulfilling the objectives of World Mathematical Year 2000.
The usefulness of mathematical models for the solution of problems of social relevance must be made known to the widest general audience and UNESCO also has a role to play here.
UNESCO should encourage funding agencies in Member States to support Mathematics and study the possibility of launching a Foundation for Mathematics and Development .
Finally it was strongly recommended that a UNESCO Advisory Committee for Mathematics and Computer Sciences modelled on already existing ones should be set up.
Specific recommendations proposed by the participants in the meeting
to encourage the participation of expatriates in the development of Mathematics in their mother countries ;
to strengthen links and cooperation between UNESCO and existing industrialized centres dealing with Mathematics ;
to strengthen the collaboration between UNESCO and Venetian scientific institutions in carrying out projects.
The following draft resolution has been submitted to UNESCO's General Conference
(November, 4-7, 1997)
submitted by Luxembourg, Ivory Coast, France and Netherlands
supported by Russian Federation, Brazil, Benin, Spain, Belgium, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Thailand, Denmark, Ireland, Colombia......
The General Conference.
Considering the central importance of mathematics and its applications in today's world with regard to science, technology, communications, economics and numerous other fields,
Aware that mathematics has deep roots in many cultures and that the most outstanding thinkers over several thousand years contributed significantly to their development,
Aware that the language and the values of mathematics are universal, thus encouraging and making it ideally suited for international cooperation,
Stressing the key role of mathematics education, in particular at primary and secondary school level, both for the understanding of basic mathematical concepts and for the development of rational thinking,
Welcomes the initiative of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) to declare the year 2000 the World Mathematical Year and carry out, within this framework, activities to promote mathematics at all levels world-wide,
Decides to support the World Mathematical Year 2000 initiative,
Requests the Director General to collaborate with the international mathematics community in planning the World Mathematical Year 2000 and to contribute during 1998-1999 funds of $250.000 from the Regular Programme and Budget in support of preparatory activities.
PERSON IN CHARGE OF MATHEMATICS AT UNESCO
Division of Basic Sciences
1, rue Miollis
75015 PARIS (France)
e-mail : email@example.com
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