UNESCO Director-General Madame Irina Bokova announced on 26 October 2010, that the 12 SAF institutions can use the UNESCO logo

News UNESCO, Paris - 26th October 2010

UNESCO Director-General Madame Irina Bokova announced on 26 October 2010, that the 12 SAF institutions can use the UNESCO logo as long as it is always associated with Madanjeet Singh's name and his official title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Irina Bokova

List of the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institutions of Excellence >


Renewal of South Asia Foundation official relations with UNESCO for another Six-year term


Official relations with UNESCO since:

October 2006 (175 EX/38) (175 EX/Dec.40)

Established in:


 Headquarters: New Delhi, India                                                 


Mr N. Ram, President


South Asia Foundation (SAF) is a non-profit and non-political organization established in 2000 by Madanjeet Singh, Indian artist, writer and diplomat who was UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. SAF promotes regional cooperation and peace through education, mutual understanding and amity, in particular among the young people of South Asia to improve their quality of life. It also aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region as well as to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential.




SAF extends membership throughout the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Internal structure:

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the Foundation, which uses a system of co-option to increase or decrease its membership. SAF has autonomous chapters in the eight SAARC countries. Each Chapter is headed by a Chairperson, who is advised by an Advisory Board consisting of eminent people. Chairpersons meet annually as Governing Council to take joint decisions for implementation of projects in each member country.


Peace education programmes, cultural development, youth activities, scholarships and vocational training for the marginalized and deprived sections of society with particular focus on young girls and women. In addition, SAF sponsors teacher-training programmes using distance education in a number of countries in the SAARC region; it promotes the development of vocational training programmes, and provides support to SAF-Scouts Friendship Camps, and to the SOS International education programmes.

SAF offers scholarships in the 12 Institutions of Excellence located in the SAARC countries, where students from the region can pursue a  postgraduate diploma in the discipline of their choice. During several years, a training programme of midwives was undertaken in Kathmandu, Nepal, funded by SAF.

Cooperation with


The objectives and ideals of the activities developed by SAF through its autonomous Chapters and its 12 UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institutions of Excellence (which enjoy the right of using UNESCO’s logo) in the eight SAARC countries are in line with the principles proclaimed in UNESCO’s Constitution, the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through establishing and developing research, capacity-building, awareness-raising and cultural activities, SAF has contributed to advancing the UNESCO’s ideals and principles in the areas of preservation of cultural and natural heritage, promotion of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, cultural diversity, as well as strengthening regional and international cooperation which aims to promote and protect respect for human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the rights of women, children, young people, people living in difficult life situation and other disadvantaged groups. SAF has made a significant input (including financial) to the strengthening of regional and international cooperation in the areas of education, education for girls and women’s empowerment, culture, social and human sciences, ecology and water management, as well as communication and information. Through its scholarship programme, SAF has contributed to capacity-


building in the areas of quality education, social inclusion, water management, cultural preservation.

The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, created in 1995 and financially supported by SAF, is closely related with UNESCO’s activities implemented in all programme sectors that promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of people, support struggle against discrimination, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, reinforce freedom of opinion and expression, respect for cultural diversity, intercultural  and inter-religious dialogue, as well as assist Member States in building more just and socially inclusive societies. The Prize has been an integral part of UNESCO’s activities to promote dialogue among cultures and civilizations, including dialogue among different religions, for building a culture of peace and non-violence, undertaken during the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2010), which led to the proclamation of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022). In addition to celebration of the International Day for Tolerance (16 November), the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize is also associated with UNESCO’s annual activities devoted to the International Day of Human Rights (10 December), the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) and the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May).

SAF has established a solid and sustainable organizational structure, as well as possesses enough financial and human resources to implement the activities in conformity with the existing agreements with UNESCO. Through its permanent website and targeted information campaigns in mass media, SAF disseminates information to public about its work, which is carried out under the logo of UNESCO and thus adds visibility to UNESCO’s programmes.Finally, it should be recalled that the founder of SAF, Madanjeet Singh, was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador In November 2000 in recognition of his promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding worldwide and especially in South Asia.


Decision by the Director-General:

Renewal of official relations for a new six-year term


Source:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002294/229455e.pdf

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