Message from the Director General of UNESCO on the occasion of the International Year for the Culture of Peace [Archives:2000/04/Local News]

January 24 2000

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 defenses of peace in the minds of men. Its founders provided it with an effective arsenal for peace whose linchpins are education, science, culture and communication.
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 quaranteed exclusively by political, economic or military agreements. In the final analysis it depends upon the unanimous, sincere and sustained engagement of people. Each one of us, no matter what 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 people. 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 practice the universal principles of 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?”
Koichiro Matsuura