Building peace in the minds of men and women


Editorial by Irina Bokova

By Irina Bokova

Since its creation in 1948, the UNESCO Courier has been spreading an ideal throughout the world: humanity united in its diversity around universal values and fundamental rights, strong in the wealth of its cultures, knowledge and accomplishments.

The UNESCO Courier is a key element of UNESCO’s identity as well as one of the most powerful tools for its humanistic mandate. In 1988, Sandy Koffler, the founder and first managing editor of the journal, said that: “Of all the journals published by the United Nations and its specialised institutions, The UNESCO Courier has always occupied first place for the number of its readers and the range of its audience.” Throughout all the continents and for 70 years, the Courier has embodied UNESCO’s mission: building peace in the minds of men and women by disseminating knowledge and cultures, the free flow of ideas and information by word and image, to help strengthen mutual understanding, the spirit of tolerance, informed debate, and peace. The reappearance of this historic journal in 2017, through the generous support of the People’s Republic of China, is much more than the resumption of an editorial endeavour: it is a valuable opportunity to renew our commitment to the Courier’s founding values.

The publication of this issue marking the relaunch of the UNESCO Courier is particularly fitting, given that it falls within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that the United Nations adopted in September 2015. This new agenda represents a turning point towards a more humanistic attitude in global development policies, relying on people’s capacities to respond to the challenges of peace and climate change through education, science and culture, which is an underlying element of each of the Objectives of sustainable development.

We are convinced that in a world full of limitations – in terms of our resources and our means – humanity can count on the renewable resources of its intelligence, creativity and ingenuity. This wealth, fostered by the moral requirement to respect the rights and dignity of each individual, represents an infinite source of progress. To unlock this potential, we must also help raise awareness of the creative wealth of humanity, and the Courier can contribute to this by circulating words of peace, trust and intelligence in response to the discourse of hatred, fear and rejection that currently spreads so easily on the Internet and on the streets. The UNESCO Courier is also a powerful tool of this fundamental aspiration, and I call upon all UNESCO Member States and partners, and first and foremost all intellectuals, artists and experts, to make their voices heard by enriching the pages of this Courier, which has inspired so many generations of readers and will continue to do so for a long time.

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