MESSAGE FROM UNESCO DIRECTOR-GENERAL KOICHIRO MATSUURA|
INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE CULTURE OF PEACE
Paris, 30 December 1999
"The century now coming to a close has seen remarkable progress in science,
technology and communication. Unfortunately, however, it has failed to put
an end to the practices of violence and war. For this reason the year 2000
has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year for the
Culture of Peace.****
"More than a half century ago, UNESCO was created with the mission to build
the defences of peace in the minds of men. Its founders provided it with an
effective arsenal for peace whose linchpins are education, science, culture
"Municipalities, schools, institutions and associations in every corner of
the world are putting into practice the values of a culture of peace. They
are trying to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities by striving to
achieve sustainable development and respect for human rights, reinforcing
democratic institutions, promoting freedom of expression, improving the
status of women and preserving cultural diversity and the environment.
"Peace cannot be guaranteed exclusively by political, economic or military
agreements. In the final analysis it depends upon the unanimous, sincere and
sustained engagement of peoples. Each one of us, no matter what our age,
sex, social position, religious affiliation or cultural origin is called
upon to create a peaceful world.
"Peace can only be achieved through our behaviour, attitudes and everyday
acts. The culture of peace is the universal culture that is shared by all
peoples. It is essential to our common humanity.
"Together, let us construct this world of peace, beginning by signing
Manifesto 2000 - whereby each of us undertakes to practise the universal
principles of a culture of peace, non-violence and harmony in our family,
our community and our place of work.
"Together, let us cultivate peace. Let us each ask ourselves, 'what can we
do for peace today?' "
MESSAGE FROM UNESCO DIRECTOR-GENERAL FEDERICO MAYOR (1987-1999)
INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE CULTURE OF PEACE
Paris - Eiffel Tower, 14 September 1999
In a few weeks' time we will be taking our leave of this century, filled with wonder at the scientific and technological progress made but at the same time with dismay at the violence, war and oppression that have taken such a heavy toll in human lives and suffering of every kind. Each and every one of us must do our utmost as we enter the new millennium to bequeath to future generations certain values and certain responses, on which a start has already been made, to deal with social inequalities, poverty, hunger, exclusion, discrimination, destruction of the environment, proliferation of drugs and weapons and, above all, the use of force to settle conflicts.
Abolishing violence, war and their causes requires much more than the action of States. It means that everyone must be involved in putting into practice in daily life the ideals so clearly set forth in UNESCO's Constitution and in achieving a radical change in attitudes within the family and the community and within countries and regions. It calls for a cultural transformation.
Will we be capable of making such a change in so short a time? Will we be capable of countering authoritarianism and intolerance with democracy and solidarity? Our answer is yes! Together we must find new hope in our troubled history and make sure that non-violent rebellion, creative disobedience and insubordination by those who will never accept the unacceptable will enable us to effect the transition from the logic of force to the force of reason. I therefore APPEAL SOLEMNLY
May the new century and the new millennium be a new departure, the setting of a new scene for human endeavour, locally and worldwide! Let us take up the challenge and together let us shape a new future by joining in the movement for the Year 2000, International Year for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.
- To the international community and political, military, religious, economic, social and cultural leaders - especially parliamentarians, mayors and the media - to re-establish the principles upon which the United Nations was founded in order to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war... reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights... and promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms.
- To educators in particular, to the media, to parents who are raising children and to older persons, who are living memories of past violence, to mobilize and help forge in the young people of today the fervent desire to seek new ways of living together based on conciliation, generosity and tolerance, unlimited respect for human rights, rejection of all forms of oppression and violence, equitable distribution of wealth, the free flow of information and the sharing of knowledge. In other words, a culture of peace.
- I suggest that there should be a square or historic monument - like the Eiffel Tower - designated in every country and city as a messenger of peace symbolizing the political will and the will of the people to serve the cause of peace and non-violence. And by the same taken I call for measures to be taken and events to be held that will help foster these ideals.
- I appeal to each and every one of us - women, men and children - to endorse the Manifesto 2000 drafted by a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, in order to create a global movement for a culture of peace and non-violence. Let us gather 100 million signatures to present to the United Nations General Assembly in the year 2000, so that world society may have a strong voice in this great transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace.