The core mission of UNESCO is to promote peace by encouraging mutual understanding, intellectual solidarity and cooperation through education, science, culture and communications.
“As the United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote ‘the free flow of ideas by word and image’, UNESCO works to foster free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online. Media development in this mode enhances freedom of expression, and it contributes to peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights” (unesco.org, “Fostering Freedom of Expression”).
Due to the significance of the Silk Roads in relation in the history and civilization of Eurasian peoples, and following its Orient-Occident project (1956-1967), UNESCO launched its “Integral Study of the Silk Roads, the Roads of Dialogue (1988-1997)”. This was to highlight the cultural interactions between the peoples of the East and the West. Following this project, UNESCO continued to organise other initiatives on the Silk Roads. In 2013 it launched a new project about the Silk Roads entitled, "Silk Roads Online Platform for Dialogue, Diversity & Development." The 2018 Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest is its most recent initiative.
UNESCO Silk Roads Project has been a pioneer in promoting the concept of intercultural encounters which occur among diverse populations along travel routes. As a result of these projects, UNESCO has not only succeeded in reviving the historical Silk Roads, but has also promoted the present-day legacy of human interactions, shared values, and common heritage.