Ambassador David Doyle, St. Kitts-Nevis’ Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, could not have asked for a happier coincidence last week. Two senior Nevis experts associated UNESCO activities – one in education and another in information society – are currently deployed at UNESCO HQ in Paris – at the same time. He called upon them both to meet up to exchange views on their work.
Nevis was represented by Dr. Neva Pemberton, who arrived in Paris in January to undertake a 6-month intensive training programme organised by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), and, Paul Hector, a Programme Specialist within UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector (CI), and the single, longest-serving St. Kitts-Nevis citizen working for UNESCO.
Mr Hector, who is also completing his PhD part-time in Paris, works within the Knowledge Societies Division (KSD) at UNESCO, which is responsible for the coordination of UNESCO’s overall contribution to the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
The Division promotes the application of one of UNESCO 5 critical core competencies, Information Communications Technology (ICTs), which aims to enhance the quality of, and access to, education, build scientific knowledge, promote open access to scientific research results, and empower local communities.
In addition, Mr Hector’s KS Division also promotes free and open source software, open web and open standards, as well as protects and digitize documentary heritage through the Memory of the World Programme. The KSD also fosters the role of libraries and archives and is responsible for further strengthening of the World Digital Library.
Mr. Hector manages the day to day operations of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) www.unesco.org\webworld\ifap and coordinates the WSIS C10 Action Line, the Ethical dimensions of the Information Society, thereby contributing to UNESCO’s efforts to shape the post-2015 international development agenda.
Paul Hector’s career at UNESCO has exposed him to a range of international development partners such as the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the World Bank, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the design, implementation and evaluation of development focused projects in Africa and Asia-Pacific that leverage new and old information and communication technologies (ICT) and support the professional development and capacity-building of individuals and institutions.
Along his now 15-year international UN career path, Mr Hector has received various international awards and he is an alumni of the Fulbright Fellowship Program as well as the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programme. Despite having a young family, Mr. Hector still finds time to pursue his research interests in knowledge-based development, the growth and sustainability of cities in the developing world, as well as innovation and social entrepreneurship.
Says Mr Hector, “I am ever appreciative and mindful of the important role that my parents played in my growth and development, not to mention my teachers and past mentors. This inspired me to launch back in 2009 an annual monetary prize and award for the student with the best science results at my old high-school, in Charlestown, Nevis. This may sound like a cliché, but I really feel privileged to be able to give back. In fact, I am looking into ways to expand this programme to benefit more young people back home.”
Neva Pemberton, Education Planner in Nevis, is grateful to benefit from the practical and relevant professional development opportunity the IIEP course offers. UNESCO operates International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) programs which are designed for planners, policy-makers and researchers. Dr. Pemberton is part of the IIEP targeted training programme for both educational institutions and individuals, for individual who work in both national and international contexts.
About the programme, Dr. Pemberton stated: “the Advanced Education Sector Planning Course has allowed me to rehearse the process of comprehensively analysing the state of an education system, and, based on that analysis, to assemble a coherent and actionable sector strategy with a strong monitoring and evaluation framework. And, what’s made the course all the more pertinent is that the exercise of strategy development has been realistically tethered to the political arena in which decisions are negotiated and made. This exposure will certainly enhance my day to day work as an education planner and also strengthen my contribution to the UNESCO-led Education Sector Policy Review and Strategy development process, for which I am the national coordinator.”
Dr. Pemberton is also a member of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, working closely with its long-serving and active Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Maynard.
Dr. David Doyle, Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO, was particularly impressed with the two Nevis experts strong sense of engagement with UNESCO’s activities, its core competencies and culture: “St. Kitts and Nevis may be a small island developing state but proves, once again, its ability to punch above its weight by deploying high-calibre citizens who do not shy away from actively and constructively participating in UNESCO activities. The Federation can be proud of its human resources input into UNESCO”.
Photo shows from L/R: Ambassador Doyle, Dr Neva Pemberton, and Mr Paul Hector