Introduction and UNESCO's Mandate
Yamousoukro and Seville Statement
Origins and Executive Board Adoption
Pages 3 - 4
Launching the Programme: El Salvador and Roundtable
Pages 5 - 6 - 7
1993 General Conference
Pages 9 - 10
Toward a Global Scope
Pages 12 - 13
Transdisciplinary Project and Human Right to Peace
Pages 14 - 15 - 16
1997: A New Approach
UN General Assembly Resolutions
Resolution for International Year
Declaration and Programme of Action
Pages 20 - 21
Resolution for International Decade
Pages 22 - 23
Pages 25 - 26
Pages 27 - 28
Pages 29 - 30
Use of Internet
Pages 32 - 33
Future of the Culture of Peace
Pages 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38
Annexes and Documentation
I felt it was time for another approach, and an opportunity was provided by the United Nations International Year for the Culture of Peace, the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, and development of the Internet. To take this new approach could not be done without a break with the past, which was rather painful - which is normal in a hierarchical structure like that of UNESCO. I used to say that the only thing we lacked to be a military structure was the requirement to salute our superior officers when we passed them in the hall.
On 12 June 1997, I presented the new approach to my chief, the Director of the Culture of Peace Programme, Leslie Atherley, putting it in the form of a memo entitled "Importance of Information/Networking for Culture of Peace" and proposing that I be given the full-time job of its implementation. For two weeks we argued and debated. He convened a meeting of the senior professionals so I could present the case, but they would not agree with the idea that 90% of the information in an effective information/networking system should come from partners outside of UNESCO proper. Instead they insisted that the Internet should be used to show off the work of UNESCO. In the end, Leslie urged me to give up the idea and wait until he retired at the end of 1998, at which point I would presumably become Director and could do what I wanted. I told him frankly and openly that I would not wait, but take the proposal to the Director-General.
The conflict worsened over the course of the next few months, as members of the Unit realized that I had presented my idea to the Director-General despite opposition by the senior staff. This culminated in a remarkable theatrical scene in the chamber of the Direction Generale where the Director General normally "held court" with his top staff. We occupied the chamber on the evening of 2 April 1998 for a session of mediation. Professional mediator Jacqueline Morineau and two of her colleagues sat with Director Leslie Atherley in the chairs usually reserved for the Director-General and his top staff. The rest of us, at least a dozen in number, sat in the semi-circle facing them. For almost three hours, the mediators mirrored the attacks by several members of the Unit staff who condemned me for what they considered to be my betrayal of the Unit. A majority of the staff members looked on in silence, perhaps intimidated by the vehemence of the attacks and no one spoke in my defense. In the days that followed, although I requested Atherley to continue the mediation process, he refused.
In the months following the initial confrontation in June 1997, I developed the proposal, called a "Global Culture of Peace Info-Net": "a globally accessible and comprehensive, participatory in format, constantly up-dated information service on the Internet in everyday and local languages concerning culture of peace activities." A description was given at the end of July 1997 to the Director-General, and he asked me to prepare a draft note that would establish a new unit to carry it out and that could be implemented for the first meeting of the Internal Advisory Group planned for 12 September. However, the meeting of 12 September came and went and the Director-General took no decision on the note. Instead, he was pre-occupied with the general strategy of the transdisciplinary project and the human right to peace, as indicated in his notes on the strategy paper of Anaisabel Prera Flores of 5 December 1997.
In November, however, the situation changed with the decision of the UN General Assembly to make UNESCO the focal point for the International Year for the Culture of Peace (for details see the following section that concerns UN General Assembly resolutions). I presented my proposal once again in a personal note to the Director-General on 13 December 1997. This time, however, I requested that I be put in charge of an independent unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, and I provided a timetable and proposal for staffing and budget. On 25 March 1998 the Director-General issued the needed administrative note, and with the help of my secretary, Saida Doumbia-Gall, who was the backbone of the team throughout the years to come, we launched the work for the International Year.
I never did really convince the Director-General of the Internet project (originally called "info-net" and later called the Culture of Peace News Network - CPNN). However, he accepted my proposal in October 1997 to include it in the funding package for the funds received from the United Kingdom on rejoining UNESCO, and the $100,000 was made available in 1998 to launch CPNN.