Message from the Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura
on the occasion of the International Year for the Culture of Peace
 

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 defences 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 guaranteed exclusively by political, economic or military
agreements. In the final analysis it depends upon the unanimous, sincere and
sustained engagement of peoples. Each one of us, no matter what our 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
peoples. 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 practise the universal
principles of a 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


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