Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 9

THE ENDURING VISION OF A WORLD WITHOUT WAR peace, understanding and solidarity. Through these same principles, UNESCO should have the ability to reconcile these situations. The manifestation of the political and cul- tural divisions within an organisation dedicated to dialogue and peace questions UNE- SCO’s capability to smooth the tensions created by such polarisations. The accusations made against UNESCO as manifesting itself as a biased, highly politicised organisation not only attack its decision-making practices and policies, they also demand we turn our attention back to UNESCO’s constitutionally embedded principles. They remind us that political motivations must not be ignored when evaluating UNESCO’s policies and practical initiatives. While some of UNESCO’s contemporary initiatives, such as the World Heritage Programme (see e.g. Foster & Gilman 2015) and the UNESCO Con- vention on Cultural Diversity (see e.g. De Beukelaer et al. 2015), have been a source of major controversy and criticism, the ideological basis of the organisation has remained solid since its outset. The high idealism of the humanist philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Auguste Comte and Jan Amos Comenius provided the foundations for UNESCO and has continued to label its quest for a better world to this day (Singh 2010:3–5). In what follows, UNESCO’s constitutionally embedded ideological aspirations are con- textualised through a set of concepts associated with what is known as the English School of International Relations theory. The English School intellectual tradition is based on a triad of concepts for theorising the conduct of international relations: international sys- tem, international society and world society—sometimes labelled Hobbesian, Grotian and Kantian, respectively. The basic idea as explained by Barry Buzan (2001:474–475) seems simple enough. International system is all about power politics among states, plac- ing the structure of international anarchy at the centre of IR theory. International society is about the institutionalisation of common interests among states, placing the construc- tion of shared norms, rules and institutions at the centre of IR theory. World society, then, takes individuals and non-state organisations as the focus, placing transcendence of the states system at the centre of IR theory. Standing for the belief that ideas, rather than material factors, shape world politics, the English School explores the option of peaceful cooperation within the international sys- tem. The concept of international society is the practical manifestation of such a pos- sibility, forming one of the most enduring meta-narratives of IR theory. International society is essentially grounded in the simple idea that if there can be a society within states, there can also be a society between or among states. An infinite source of both criticism and praise, along with countless attempts at practical implications and redefi- nitions, the concept was defined by Hedley Bull (1977:13) as follows: An international society exists “when a group of states, conscious of certain common interests and com- mon values, form a society in the sense that they conceive themselves to be bound by a common set of rules in their relations with one another, and share in the working of common institutions.” My approach to the English School’s conceptual contribution is that of common val- ues—more specifically, the common value of peace. UNESCO’s existence is based on a 9