Introduction to the UNESCO Symposium

"Of the tasks assigned to the United Nations Organization, one of those which could and should most nearly affect the conscience of the peoples is the drawing up of an International Declaration of Human Rights . The task was committed to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. UNESCO’s part was to consult philosophers and assemble their replies. This volume is a collection of the most significant texts thus gathered in the course of UNESCO’s enquiry into the philosophic bases of Human Rights."

Communication from Maritain, Ambassador to the Holy See

"In my view there arises first of all a question of method. It seems to me eminently desirable to formulate a World Declaration of the Rights of Man which would be, as it were, the moral charter of the civilized world, but it seems clear that, while practical agreement in regard to such a Declaration is possible, theoretical agreement is impossible."

Interpretation of the UNUDHR

"The effects of the historic evolution of humanity and of the ever more universal crises of the modern world, coupled with the advance be it never so precarious of moral consciousness and reflection, have resulted in men apprehending today more clearly than heretofore, though still very imperfectly, a certain number of practical truths about their life to get her, on which they can reach agreement, but which, in the thought of the different groups, derive, according to types of mind, philosophic and religious traditions, areas of civilization and historical experience, from widely different, and even absolutely opposed, theoretical concepts."

"M. Maritain Calls for Unity" UNESCO Courier Article

The text of the UNESCO Appeal (printed in the adjoining column) was placed before the General Conference by the President of the French Delegation, M. Jacques Maritain. It is based upon the principles expounded at the beginning of the Conference, by the famous French philosopher, who declared: “We meet at a particularly grave moment in the world's history. In face of international tension and growing antagonism; the, danger of which it would be vain to underestimate, vast sections of public opinion risk abandoning themselves to the idea of the inevitability of war”.

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