The representatives of 37 countries met in London in 1945 and signed UNESCO’s Constitution on November 16. A year later, after ratification by 20 signatories on November 4, 1946, the Constitution came into force and UNESCO was born. There were many activities commemorating the Organization’s fiftieth anniversary in 1996, among them the minting of a medal.

Designed by the Swiss artist Hans Erni, the obverse features a composite of five winged faces in graceful circular motion, representing the earth’s five continents. This was also adopted as the logo of the World Decade for Cultural Development which reached its conclusion in 1997.

The UNESCO temple appears on the reverse. The original 1996 edition was marked 50e anniversaire.The medal was later reissued without this inscription, since then it is also referred to as the Five Continents medal.

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