Overview of the Beirut Office

UNESCO's Beirut Office

©UNESCO /F.Al-Khateeb

The mission of UNESCO Beirut is to contribute to sustainable human development in a culture of peace underpinned by tolerance, democracy and human rights through programs and projects in UNESCO's fields of competence: Education, the Natural & Social Sciences, Culture and Communication & Information.

Since the beginning of 2002, the UNESCO Office in Beirut has assumed two new roles within a global network of offices and bureaus:

  • Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States
  • Cluster Office for Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories in the Middle East Cluster

As a Regional Bureau, the Beirut Office is a center of expertise in the field of Education for the Arab world.  In carrying out this mission, the UNESCO Beirut Cluster Office , serves twenty-two Arab countries in the region in the field of Education. Despite their common language and culture, Arab countries enjoy cultural variations and different national and sub-regional priorities and concerns which UNESCO takes into account when fulfilling its mandate.

As a Cluster Office, its role is to implement UNESCO’s Biennial Program by adapting the implementation of programs in its fields of competence to the specific characteristics of the region and working to ensure an active presence in each Member State.  The office is responsible for providing assistance both upstream and downstream through planning, programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities.


Beginning with its establishment in 1961 as the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States in Beirut the Office has been serving the Arab region and the member states of UNESCO.  The Arab States Center for Administration and Training of Education Personnel (ASCATEP) was founded in 1961 in Beirut (Resolution 1233 of the UNESCO General Conference) with the aim of training educational personnel within the Arab States in management and planning of Arab educational systems.

In 1972, within the framework of the decentralization policy, ASCATEP became UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States (UNEDBAS). During the war years in Lebanon, the Office was temporarily relocated to Cairo, Paris and Amman (1975-1991). It gradually re-opened in Beirut in 1992, where it is now officially located.

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