03.06.2011 - ODG

“Imagining Peace” – ‘Diario Sur’, Spain

Editorial article by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, published on ‘Diario Sur’ of Spain on Friday, 3 June 2011. The article, as published in English on ‘Sur – In English’, follows here below.

Imagining Peace

When you soon see the logo of UNESCO on the jerseys of the players of the Malaga Football Club do not be surprised. When you see UNESCO on the advertisements adorning La Rosaleda Stadium, no need to wonder.

UNESCO is joining forces with the Malaga Football Club to get the message of peace out to all men and women, old and young, who watch and follow this club. This is a marriage of passion to promote the goals of sports that are doping-free and a society that is free of racism. This is about imagining peace and making it happen.

We live in complex times, where change is happening fast and new challenges arise every day - in our schools, towns, societies and countries, as well as between them. These can also be confusing times, for young men and women especially.

It is our duty to reach out to young people, to support them in shaping the world into a better place, a place they feel they own. We must develop new ways to strengthen the message of human rights and fundamental freedoms as compass directions for moving forward.

This calls for new forms of action. The times of divided responsibilities between the public sector and civil society are over. Today, both must work together, to reach out to new audiences and to promote the core values that we hold dear: equality, dignity and respect.

What better place to start than with the Malaga Football Club? This is one of Andalucía’s greatest and most venerable clubs. The city of Malaga has always stood at a crossroads of history and geography, benefitting from a past that is rich in cultural diversity and solidarity. Created in the wake of World War II, UNESCO was founded on the ideal that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be built”.

The partnership between UNESCO and the Malaga Football Club, which we signed on Wednesday, will last four years initially and it will draw on the qualities and resources of both of us to inspire new thinking about peace in men and women, and especially in young people. It will promote the importance of diversity in our societies. It will create new spaces for dialogue and exchange by making the most of the web and social media as powerful vehicles for social change. It will foster greater understanding and mutual respect.

Together with the Malaga Football Club, we will seek to build the defences in the minds of men and women. Young people especially are not waiting for us to change the world; they are doing so before our very eyes, every day. We will support the min their desire for debate and we will develop with them new forms of action - working always in the direction of promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is imagining peace.

  - Irina Bokova is Director-General of UNESCO

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