International organisations


General information on UNESCO

The official website of UNESCO:

The page about Armenia on the Organization’s official website:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (referred to as UNESCO) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations.

On 16 November 1945, representatives of 36 founding states signed the milestone document of the Organization - the Constitution (Charter) in London, which entered into force on 4 November 1946 after its ratification by 20 states.

The main purpose of the Organization is to contribute to the strengthening of peace and security through the cooperation between nations in the fields of education, science and culture. The scope of the Organization’s activities has significantly expanded throughout the years, including sports, information and communication, the right to speech, the fight against discrimination in the field of education, the biosphere. Recently, work has been carried out in the direction of ethics of artificial intelligence, in particular, the elaboration of the terms of reference. Programs implemented by UNESCO contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, the Organization consists of 193 full-fledged and 11 associated members.

Armenia became a member of UNESCO on 9th June, 1992.

Permanent Representation of the Republic of Armenia in UNESCO.

The Permanent Representation of the Republic of Armenia to UNESCO is located in Paris. Since 17 January 2019, the Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Armenia to UNESCO is Christian Ter-Stepanyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

The 3 main bodies of the UNESCO

The General Conference is the main leading body of the Organization. It conveys every two years and aims to define the main directions of UNESCO's policies and activities, including the adoption of the Organization’s outlined program for a certain period, the budget and the mid-term strategy. The General Conference elects the Director-General of the Organization upon the proposal of the Executive Board. The term for tenure is 4 years. The General Conference also elects the members of the Executive Board. Each member-state has 1 vote. The representatives of member-states and associated members of the Organization participate in the sessions. The regular Session (the 42nd) will take place in November, 2023.

The working languages of the General Conference are English, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and French.

Remarks of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the 41st Session of the UNESCO General Conference, 2021,

Remarks of Arayik Harutyunyan, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia, at the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, 2019,

The Executive Board is the second leading body of the Organization.

The sessions of the Executive Council are convened twice a year to ensure the proper implementation of the Organization's program and decisions adopted by the General Conference and to carry out preparations for the next session of the General Conference.

The Executive Board consists of 58 member-states with 4-year tenure.

For the first time since accession to UNESCO in 1992, Armenia was elected as a member of the Executive Board in 2021. Candidates from four countries - Armenia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Azerbaijan - were submitted for the three vacant seats of the regional group of Eastern European countries in the elections of the Executive Board. Armenia (143 votes), Azerbaijan (143 votes) and Lithuania (126 votes), were elected in the group.

Armenia, within the scope of its commitments and priorities, makes efforts to promote the implementation of UNESCO programs, ensure access to quality education for all, and protect and preserve cultural heritage within the frameworks of its membership in the Executive Board.

The Secretariat, together with the Director-General and its appointed staff is the executive body of the Organization.

The 10th Director-General of the Organization is Audrey Azoulay, who assumed her position in 2017 and was reelected in 2021.

Armenia – UNESCO Cooperation

UNESCO is the only specialized UN agency with the National Commission system. They are UNESCO partners within the member-states. They can have a different structure and be operating under different Ministries, depending on the issues of each country.

The works with UNESCO are coordinated by Armenian National Commission (hereinafter referred to as Commission) for UNESCO, which was established on October 10, 1992. By the decree № 58-A of the Prime Minister of Armenia issued on January 29, 2015, the current Charter and members of the Commission were approved.

According to Article 1 of the Charter, the Commission is "an intergovernmental advisory body, the main purpose of which is to coordinate and ensure the cooperation of the state bodies, institutions and non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Armenia with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the fields of education, science, culture, communication and information".

The Commission consolidates and promotes the relationship between UNESCO and educational, scientific and cultural organizations and circles of Armenia, ensuring Armenia's participation in UNESCO's programs and activities, presenting Armenia's position on issues under UNESCO's jurisdiction, if necessary.

Together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Commission consists of the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Minister of Economy, Minister of Environment, Minister of Justice, as well as Chief of Staff of the Government.

By agreement, the Head of the President's Office, the President of the National Academy of Sciences, the Mayor of Yerevan, the Director of Museums and Archives of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the Director of the Matenadaran are also included in the Commission.

The Chairman of the Commission is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, and the Secretary-General is the head of the Department of Multilateral Policy and Development Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry. The Secretariat of the Commission is within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the division of UNESCO in the above-mentioned department.

The main tasks and functions of the Commission are outlined in Articles 3 and 4 of the Charter.

According to Article 5 of the Charter, the process of awarding the UNESCO symbol (logo) is under the absolute authority of the Commission.

High-level mutual visits

On October 11-12, 2018, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay visited Armenia within the framework of the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

On January 17, 2019, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Chairman of the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO, held a meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters.

On December 8, 2020, Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan held a meeting with the Dirctor-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay in Paris.

On November 11, 2021, Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan held a meeting with the Dirctor-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay in Paris.

On March 16, 2022, the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan held a meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris. Emphasizing the expansion of cooperation with UNESCO in the fields of education, science and communication, Minister Mirzoyan also emphasized that Armenia, as a member of the UNESCO Executive Board, remains committed to the promotion of world peace, development and effective multilateralism, which are the pillars of the Organization.

Armenia's involvement in UNESCO bodies

Armenia has ratified 21 UNESCO legal documents (15 conventions, 5 protocols, 1 treaty), including:

  • 6 conventions, its 3 protocols and 1 agreement in the field of culture,
  • 5 conventions and 1 protocol in the field of education,
  • 2 conventions in the field of communication and information,
  • 1 convention and 1 attached protocol in the field of natural sciences,
  • 1 convention in the field of social sciences and humanities.

Armenia regularly pays its membership fee to UNESCO. For 2023, it was $24,054.

Armenia is a member of UNESCO's 2nd (Eastern European countries) regional and UNESCO francophone countries groups.

Armenia actively cooperates with second-category institutes and centers operating under the auspices of UNESCO. Currently, Armenia is a member of the following structures operating under UNESCO.

  • The Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe, Sofia,
  • Regional Research Centre for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in West and Central Asia, Tehran,
  • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management, Tehran,
  • The International Research Centre in Artificial Intelligence, Ljubljana,
  • The International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education, St. Petersburg.

Several intergovernmental commissions operate alongside the Conventions.

Applications included in lists established by UNESCO conventions

Cultural heritage/sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List belong to all people of the world, regardless of their location. This list includes monuments and memorials of the greatest value to humanity. Each state can apply only for the cultural heritage/site that is within its borders.

Armenia is represented in the list with the following applications:

In 2018 the site “Geghard Monastery and Upper Azat River Valley” was granted enhanced protection status, which has become the first monument in Armenia as such. “Enhanced protection of UNESCO” is a mechanism established by the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The mechanism requires the parties to the conflict to refrain from attacking such a monument, as well as from any military use of it or its immediate surroundings. The Protocol also establishes criminal penalties for violations of enhanced protection of cultural property by persons.

Applications in waiting/preliminary list:

  • "The basilica and archaeological site of Yererouk" (1995),
  • " The archaeological site of the city of Dvin" (1995),
  • " The monasteries of Tatev and Tatevi Anapat and the adjacent areas of the Vorotan Valley" (1995),
  • " The monastery of Noravank and the upper Amaghou Valley" (1995).

The Armenian Monastic Ensembles - St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. of St. Stepanos, St. Thaddeus the Apostle and Dzor Dzor in Iran were registered in the World Heritage List based on the application submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran under the name "Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran".

In 2016, the ruins of Ani, the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Bagratides, located in the current territory of Turkey were registered in the list under the name "Archaeological site of Ani".

Several lists are defined by the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). In the Convention, intangible cultural heritage is characterized as a set of traditions, customs and cultural expressions, as well as knowledge and skills, which are recognized by certain groups of people, and in some cases also by individuals, as part of their cultural heritage. An entity's decision to list an item does not imply ownership.

In the representative list of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Armenia is represented by the following elements:

UNESCO Programs

Many programs are implemented within the framework of UNESCO, which are financed from both the regular budget and extrabudgetary sources.

UNESCO's Memory of the World Program reflects the diversity of languages, cultures and peoples. The goal of the progamme is to prevent the loss of valuable records of archives and libraries around the world without a trace and to promote their wide distribution.

Three samples of Armenian documentary heritage appear in the register:

The UNESCO Associated Schools Network program was established in 1953. More than 10,000 educational institutions from 181 countries are involved in the program list. The Network has been operating in Armenia since March, 1997. Currently, it includes 10 Armenian schools. The latter cooperates with UNESCO within the framework of national programmes, supporting the spread of the Organization's values, the realization of goals and issues.

The UNESCO UNITWIN/ Chair Programme (university twinning and communication, establishment of contacts) was established in 1992. It serves to improve the capacities of higher education and research institutions, promoting the exchange of knowledge and joint activities. Currently, the international UNESCO/UNITWIN network of research and postgraduate education in the field of biophysics, biotechnology and environmental safety operates in Armenia, as well as the following UNESCO chairs:

  • UNESCO Chair of Life Sciences (NAS)
  • UNESCO Chair of Sustainable Development (NAS)
  • UNESCO Chair of Human Rights and Democracy (YSLU)
  • UNESCO Chair for Education and Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (YSU)

UNESCO Calendar of Anniversaries of Famous People and Important Events

Since 1998, 27 anniversaries presented by Armenia have been included in the Calendar. It includes the following anniversaries for the 2022-2023 biennium.

  • 100th anniversary of Nerses Shnorhali
  • The 100th anniversary of the foundation of the State Cinema of Armenia

The issue of the destruction of the Armenian cemetery of Old Jugha in Nakhichevan

As of December, 2005, the armed forces of Azerbaijan have completely destroyed thousands of unique cross-stones and tombstones of the Armenian cemetery in Old Jugha, thereby completing the state policy of complete annihilation of the Armenian-Christian cultural heritage of Nakhichevan and the entire territory of Azerbaijan in the last two decades.

During this vandalistic operation, the medieval cross-stones and tombstones of the Jugha cemetery were turned into rubble and thrown into the Araks river. A shooting range was built on the territory of the cemetery.

Despite the many irrefutable photo and video testimonies and proofs, until now no international organization, including UNESCO, has given an adequate assessment of these vandalistic actions organized and carried out by Azerbaijan at the state level.

In 1998, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia appealed to the international organizations in charge of the preservation of culture and cultural heritage, alerting them about the destruction of Jugha's cross-stones and tombstones. In particular, letters were sent to the Director-General of UNESCO in 1998, 2002 and 2005, presenting the situation and calling for measures to be taken to cease the cultural genocide against the Armenian monuments of Nakhichevan. 2005 the Armenian side also took the initiative to organize a fact-finding mission, which, according to UNESCO's explanations, did not take place due to security conditions.

During the 16th session of the General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites held in Quebec from September 30 to October 4, the General Assembly - UNESCO's advisory body, adopted a resolution. The provision 5 of the resolution:

  • Draws the attention of the Azerbaijani authorities, as a State Party to the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, to the destruction of the Jugha cemetery and to transmit to them the concern of the international community of conservation experts,
  • Asks the Azerbaijani authorities to facilitate the access of an expert delegation from UNESCO and/or ICOMOS in order to study the site and inform the international community of the results.

Statements on the issue of Jugha cross-stones have been made in various international platforms and meetings.

The issue of UNESCO fact-finding mission for the protection of Artsakh's cultural heritage

Since the 44-day war and Trilateral Declaration of November 9, 2020, Armenia has consistently raised the question of deploying a UNESCO fact-finding mission to Artsakh and adjacent regions for the protection of Artsakh's cultural heritage. Armenia has always supported the initiative of the UNESCO Director-General on sending an expert mission and was in favor of implementing it as soon as possible.

The Armenian side accepted all the preconditions proposed by the UNESCO Secretariat, that the mission should be carried out:

  • In line with the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
  • Experts can have unhindered access to cultural assets in these areas
  • An equal number of Armenian and Azerbaijani monuments should be visited during the mission.

Armenia does not reject the possibility of experts visiting the monuments proposed by Azerbaijan during the mission. Azerbaijan, however, obstructs the visit of experts to the Armenian monuments under its control, in order to prevent the recording of the facts of Armenian historical presence in these territories, as well as atrocities and appropriation by Azerbaijan towards Armenian cultural values during this period.

Azerbaijan bears the responsibility for not implementing the UNESCO fact-finding mission.


Updated 06.03.2023

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