Early History of the Culture of Peace
Origins of UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme Page 3

Introduction and UNESCO's Mandate
Page 1

Yamousoukro and Seville Statement
Page 2

Origins and Executive Board Adoption
Pages 3 - 4

Launching the Programme: El Salvador and Roundtable
Pages 5 - 6 - 7

1993 General Conference
Page 8

National Projects
Pages 9 - 10

Programme Unit
Page 11

Toward a Global Scope
Pages 12 - 13

Transdisciplinary Project and Human Right to Peace
Pages 14 - 15 - 16

1997: A New Approach
Page 17

UN General Assembly Resolutions
Page 18

Resolution for International Year
Page 19

Declaration and Programme of Action
Pages 20 - 21

Resolution for International Decade
Pages 22 - 23

Training Programmes
Page 24

Global Movement
Pages 25 - 26

Publicity Campaign
Pages 27 - 28

Decentralized Network
Pages 29 - 30

Manifesto 2000
Page 31

Use of Internet
Pages 32 - 33

Future of the Culture of Peace
Pages 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38

Annexes and Documentation
Page 39


"Culture of peace" was to become an action program of UNESCO in 1992, and seven years later a program of action of the United Nations. This was due to a remarkable convergence of historical tendencies which included:

• the success of national liberation movements which transformed the membership of UN organizations like UNESCO and which called into question the culture of war that had been so essential to colonialism

• the development of a scientific analysis of war and peace, such as that in the Seville Statement on Violence (1986).

• the end of the Cold War which made possible unanimous action by the UN Security Council and which led to peacekeeping operations and the document An Agenda for Peace (1992).

Federico Mayor had been elected the Director-General of UNESCO in 1987. Mayor was especially sensitive to all of the above-mentioned tendencies. He was a scientist who had signed the Seville Statement on Violence, he was committed to representing the newly free nations of the South, and he believed passionately in the Constitutional mandate of UNESCO.

In 1991 the United Nations was pushed by the United States into the Gulf War against Iraq. The United Nations was militarized, the top floor of the UN Secretariat peopled by uniformed officers on loan from the major powers, B-52 bombers flying the UN flag and bombing cities from high altitude. Profoundly troubled by what I saw as the danger of the UN becoming a global tyrant, I took a sabbatical from my university professorship and offered my services for one semester to Federico Mayor at UNESCO. My purpose: to help redirect the United Nations away from the use of military force and toward the use of peaceful means to promote peace. At first, working with Georges Kutukdjian, the UNESCO staff member who had managed the Yamoussoukro Conference, I prepared publicity materials for the Seville Statement on Violence.

with George Kutukdjian

With George Kutukdjian at UNESCO

Then, at a personal breakfast with the Director-General on May 13, 1992, my 53rd birthday, I presented him with the culture of peace proposal which I had previously discussed with Mr. Kutukdjian (see Annex I. Mr Mayor read the proposal carefully and made only a few suggestions for minor changes.

The proposal was complementary to UN peacekeeping operations: its objective was "to heal the social wounds of war by local operations of reconciliation and co-operation in countries where Security Council peace-keeping operations are implemented." In addition to local activities, the proposal envisaged "research and training, and documentation and information." Its philosophy was "channeling the energies of peoples into a common struggle which would benefit everyone."

previous page
home page
next page