it was at the preparatory meetings for a UNESCO conference that the phrase and definition of the culture of peace was brought by a Peruvian Jesuit scholar, Father Felipe MacGregor…
The culture of peace became the central theme of the resulting Conference, the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, in July 1989. Its final declaration called for the construction of “a new vision of peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men.”
The results of the Conference were then introduced into the documents of the UNESCO General Conference of November 1989: both the Declaration of Yamoussoukro with its culture of peace theme and the Seville Statement on Violence which provided a scientific underpinning that “the same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace.” At this point the culture of peace was still little more than a slogan among many others at UNESCO.
The Seville Statement, which I had represented at Yamoussoukro, laid a foundation for the culture of peace by showing scientifically that war is based on cultural not biological factors. It was not by accident that its theme came from the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead or that the original idea for the Statement came from the anthropologist Santiago Genoves.
While half of the scientists who drafted and signed the Statement were social scientists, the other half came from the biological sciences, including ethology, neurophysiology, animal behavior and genetics. They agreed that there is nothing yet known in biology that would make it impossible to abolish warfare. The brochure about the Seville Statement that I wrote for UNESCO in 1991 was subtitled “Preparing the ground for the constructing of peace.”
David Adams defines of Culture of Peace as:
A culture of peace is an integral approach to preventing violence and violent conflicts, and an alternative to the culture of war and violence based on education for peace, the promotion of sustainable economic and social development, respect for human rights, equality between women and men, democratic participation, tolerance, the free flow of information and disarmament.
According to Wikipedia, the UN’s consideration of the culture of peace began in 1992 with the adoption by UNESCO of a Culture of Peace Programme. This work developed into the the UN General Assembly’s declaration of a Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace in 1999.
The year 2000 was designated as the International Year for the Culture of Peace, followed by the declaration of 2001 to 2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
Today, establishing a culture of peace and sustainable development are at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate. Training and research in sustainable development are among its priorities, as well as human rights education, skills for peaceful relations, good governance, Holocaust remembrance, the prevention of conflict and peace building.
The Culture of Peace News Network (CPNN) is a project owned and managed by the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace based in Connecticut, USA. CPNN was initiated by the United Nations and is now composed by youth teams. Readers can exchange information about events, experiences, books, music, and web news that promote a culture of peace.