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US loses Unesco voting rights after not paying dues over Palestinian membership




Alissandra Cummins (Front 2nd L), the Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board, and Irina Bokova (Front 3rd L), the General Director of UNESCO, attend the opening of the UNESCO 'Forum of leaders', on November 6, 2013, in Paris.
Alissandra Cummins (Front 2nd L), the Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board, and Irina Bokova (Front 3rd L), the General Director of UNESCO, attend the opening of the UNESCO 'Forum of leaders', on November 6, 2013, in Paris.
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images

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The U.S. has lost its voting rights at Unesco, two years after withholding financial dues to the organization after Palestine was admitted as member. US contribution accounts for some 22 percent of Unesco’s budget and the Paris-based organization felt the financial impact right away.

Some staff members were laid off and certain programs have been put on hold. But the US is also losing something valuable: a say in world matters and a chance to exercise its influence globally.

Should Unesco have admitted Palestine as a member in light of the financial hit? Should the U.S. protested the Palestinian membership through other means without jeopardizing its own voting power?

Guests:

Esther Brimmer, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University in DC

Jonathan Schanzer,Vice President of Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-profit policy institute in DC. Author of "State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)