September 14, 1999

Dear Partner of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO,

On the eve of celebrating the International Year for a Culture of Peace, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, UNESCO can legitimately pride itself on having given the international community a concept that is nothing less than a world vision and social project.  This is how Mr. Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, described the theme that will animate the beginning of the new millennium.  In order to create a vast movement in favour of a culture of peace, assembling the largest number of individuals and organizations in the world, UNESCO invites us all to get organized for the occasion.

 To illustrate the way that Canadians have collaborated with UNESCO to influence behaviours, forge values and bring about the institutional transformations that are essential for the elimination of the profound roots of violence, exclusion and conflict, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO has prepared a draft kit for its partners that you will find enclosed.  This kit will allow us to open up a dialogue on what has been done and what remains to be done, build a better understanding between ourselves, multiply opportunities for cooperation, and embark on a new direction for the construction of a culture of peace at the turn of the century.

 The kit highlights the contributions of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and its members in building a culture of peace by emphasizing the dissemination of ideas and principles held dear by Canadians.  It will not be complete, however, until we have integrated information from you concerning projects you have undertaken in recent years that might be described as contributing to the development of a culture of peace in Canada and abroad.  It would therefore be extremely useful if you would be willing to spend some time to gather the information that could help us share with others your accomplishments and projects.  They could be large in scope or small-, what is important is that they contribute in some way to an improved and increased understanding of all the facets of a culture of peace.

 We can all derive benefits and inspiration from your successful endeavours.   It would be extremely useful if you could send us all available information that could help us describe your accomplishments and projects.  We believe that offering individuals and organizations an overview of activities in their communities along with ways to build connections with others of similar views will have a significant mobilizing effect.

 For the International Year of a Culture of Peace, the Canadian Commission for LTNESCO plans to promote the principles of human rights, the struggle against discrimination, and unity of purpose across borders.  The main tool used will be the dialogue that we are seeking to initiate through this exchange of information on the work accomplished within government and non-government networks.  Much effort will also be devoted to encouraging new partnership in order to promote innovations that help build a culture of peace by stimulating and facilitating democratic participation and the open embrace of diverse cultures.

 A culture of peace cannot become a reality without the commitment and sustained support of governments.  Your expertise and resources are essential and could exist in many forms.  Despite the apparent loftiness of our request, ideas that change the world can take effect only one person at a time and we welcome news of contributions in this field of any scope of nature.  A guideline for the preparation of your response is enclosed but please feel free to respond in any other manner you feel is suitable.

 We look forward to your cooperation with enthusiasm, since we share a common ideal: a society in which insecurity and conflict are eradicated by social justice and peace.  Thank you in advance for your interest in our invitation to open a dialogue and cooperate in this thematic year.


Elizabeth Barot
Programme Officer
Social and Human Sciences, Human Rights,
Status of Women, Youth

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1998.  Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
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Last update:  13 Jul 2000