The GCI has been appointed by the U.S. secretary of state to serve on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. Timothy Whalen, director of the GCI, will serve as the Institute's representative.

The National Commission will function as a Federal Advisory Committee, providing assistance to the U.S. government on matters relating to UNESCO. It will also function as a liaison with organizations, institutions, and individuals in the United States interested in the work of UNESCO.

The commission is composed of representatives from nongovernmental organizations; outstanding persons selected by the secretary of state, including individuals holding federal office; representatives from the educational, scientific, and cultural interests of state and local governments; and persons at large. It will conduct most of its work through committees, formulated along UNESCO's operating structure: education, culture, communications, and science. The GCI is a member of the Culture Committee.

Formed in 1945, UNESCO promotes international cooperation among its member states and associate members. The commissions form a vital link between civil society and the organization; provide valuable insight concerning the organization's program; and help implement many initiatives, including training programs, studies, public awareness campaigns, and media outreach.