The Story of numbers
The interview which opens this issue has a symbolic importance that will be evident to all our readers. Amos Oz is a great Israeli novelist, deservedly taking his place among the leading artists, scientists and writers from every corner of the globe whom the UNESCO Courier welcomes to its pages month by month. He has also been in the forefront of efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, peace that has so suddenly, so unexpectedly, ceased to be a dream and become an ongoing political and economic process. Amos Oz has been in the vanguard of those who have, at great risk to themselves, reconnoitred the no-man's-land where dream and reality for so long tried in vain to meet.
This issue also carries a dossier on UNESCO's General Conference. The session that opened on 25 October, as well as considering the Organization's programme and budget for the next two years, will also see the election for the post of DirectorGeneral. We have taken the opportunity to focus on some of the issues and projects that are being discussed during the Conference and to present Federico Mayor's views on this turning point in the life of UNESCO.
Last but not least, the main theme of the issue is the origin of numbers and the numeration systems that are among the great intellectual inventions of humanity. The articles have been written by specialists who were asked to explain in terms accessible to those of us who may not be of a mathematical turn of mind some of the latest findings of scientific research in their field. We hope you will agree with us that they have successfully risen to the challenge.
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