This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The United States formally withdrew its membership in UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — the Paris-based group best known to tourists for designating and promoting UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world. There are 23 sites in the US and its territories, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Everglades, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and the Statue of Liberty.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Shortly after, Israel joined the US in leaving the organization. In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the US withdrawal “brave and moral.”
The US, which owes $500 million to the UNESCO, according to Foreign Policy, has stopped paying dues since 2011, and will now be “a non-member observer state” that will “contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education,” the State Department said. US membership will officially terminate on Dec. 31, 2018.
“This is not just about World Heritage. UNESCO in itself holds out this ‘positive vision of human society,'” UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said in a statement. “At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations agency leading these issues. … This is a loss to the United Nations family. This is a loss for multilateralism.”
The US previously quit UNESCO in 1984, with Ronald Reagan accusing it of corruption and a pro-Soviet bias. Under George W. Bush, the US rejoined the organization in 2002. And then, under Barack Obama, the US cut its funding of the group by $80 million a year, or about 22 percent of its entire budget, after it accepted Palestine as a member. The Israeli ambassador to UNESCO was recalled last year after the group supported a resolution against Israel’s policy on disputed religious sites.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards