Today, the concepts and strategies on a Culture of Peace have evolved. Rethinking peace and designing new modalities for its achievement at the international, regional, national and local levels therefore become an absolute necessity. To meet this target, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova has initiated new forums to foster reflection and debate on the requirements for making peace a tangible reality for all in the twenty-first century.
Gathering eminent decision-makers, intellectuals, artists, business people and religious dignitaries from all regions of the world, these are innovative framework for instilling forward looking perspectives for designing and programming of UNESCO’s future actions for building peace through projects and activities geared toward tolerance, respect, mediation, intercultural dialogue and the rapprochement of cultures for a lasting peace in the our diverse and globalizing world.
Important initiatives in this regard includes, but are not limited to the following :
- The UNESCO Leader’s Forum mobilizing Member States in margin of the General Conference for discussing on essential topics to the future work of the Organization;
- High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures to strengthen UNESCO’s activities pertaining to dialogue among cultures, the pursuit of peace, and the promotion of cultural diversity in a globalized world;
- The Youth’s Forum which is a unique framework that allows young people to voice their ideas and concerns and make suggestions directly to the UNESCO General Conference;
- High Level Debate on Culture of Peace and Non Violence, organized on punctual basis to enhance UNESCO’s role as laboratory of ideas comparative advantage within the United Nations system, such as the discussion on “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” held in margin of the International Day of Peace 2012 at UN Headquarters in New York.
- Regional Forums to focus of the search of appropriate solution for building peace in Africa: Pan-African Forum "Sources and resources for a culture of peace" andForum on a culture of peace in West Africa: Essential for economic development and social cohesion
Awareness Raising Campaigns:
- Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion
- Pathways to a Culture of Peace: Global Contest for Mutual Understanding
- Make Peace Happen in Africa
- Learning to live together media campaign in Arab States
- Imagine Peace through Sports
Exhibitions for enhancing mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence
- Writing Peace, an exhibition for thinking and sharing peace across time and space
- Imagining the Balkans. Identities and Memories in the long 19th Century
- "Learning to Live Together" Asia-Pacific Exhibition
Prizing outstanding contributions to peace:
- Felix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
- UNESCO Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights
- UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize
- UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
Networking for enhancing mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence
- Coalition of Cities against Racism
- UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN Programme
- UNESCO-UNAOC Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID)
- Associated Schools Network
- Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa
Observing relevant International Days:
- Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January)
- Interfaith Harmony Week (First Week of February)
- International Day of Nowruz (21 March)
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March)
- World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May)
- International Day of Peace (21 September)
- Slavery Remembrance Day (23 August)
- International Day for Non-Violence (2 October)
- International Day for Tolerance (16 November)
- Human Rights Day (10 December)
Some Strategic Partnerships
- “Do one Thing for Diversity and Inclusion” with the Alliance of Civilization
A world campaign was launched by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and UNESCO, together with a group of partners to “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, at the occasion of the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity and Development (21 May).
It is a call to take ONE relevant action that promotes diversity and inclusion - from experiencing another culture through film, food or museum, to learning about other cultures or countries, or dedicating time to volunteer for that cause. It works via a dedicated Facebook Page, serving as a platform for people around the world to share their experiences through posts, videos, pictures.
- Promoting a World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue with the Government of Azerbaijan
The Baku Forum is a global initiative that addresses challenges of intercultural dialogue in its various aspects regarding conceptual frameworks, governance, policy and practice. It helps tackling the barriers to dialogue and faced concretely how it can best be pursued in diverse contexts.
The forum provides a relevant platform for sharing of good practices and innovative approaches to enhance intercultural understanding. It gathers representatives from different countries and from all continents, including international organization, NGOs, media representatives, scholars, experts, etc.
This Forum is placed under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in cooperation with UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe, ISESCO, and North-South Center of the Council of Europe.
- Building a Youth Peacemaker Network with UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker within the International Institute for Peace (IIP)
The Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN) was jointly launched by Forest Whitaker and UNESCO Juba on 12 December 2012 in Juba, South Sudan. The YPN began its initial roll-out by holding its first training for young women and men from Jonglei, the most conflict-affected state of South Sudan. The training held from 12-15 December 2012 at UNESCO Juba, and covered conflict resolution, leadership, peace and community building, and mediation skills.
The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) jointly with UNESCO Juba seeks to bring together young people across South Sudan’s 10 states that are motivated to be leaders in peace-building and act as agents of positive change within their communities:
More about this project and other relevant initiatives
Collaboration between UNESCO and the International Institute for Peace
Writing Peace, an exhibition for thinking and sharing peace across time and space
When we think of peace, we project a certain representation which includes symbols amongst which written forms are important vectors of communication. So, how is “peace” written in any given system and what significance is attached to it? What have we been told and taught about it? What have we thought, discovered, experienced and felt? How have we, in turn, disseminated the written form of the word and the declaration involved in the voicing of its spoken form? Writing the word “peace” is no trivial matter, nor should it be. It is a song, sometimes a shout, amid the ocean of humankind’s hopes; it is an ode to freedom and to people’s will to coexist.
The Writing Peace exhibition is an invitation to an appeal to creativity in spreading its message through thoughts and words in a variety of languages in order to share its values in the best manner possible. The scripts portrayed and presented chronologically have been selected because they are part of the mosaic of writing systems existing in today’s world. Naturally, they represent only a small fraction of the vast wealth of writing systems of the past or the present, without mentioning the oral traditions.
Inaugurated on 21 September 2012, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, it aims to raise awareness on the various forms of transmission of culture and heritage down the ages, and the convergence of values conducive to peace.