Building peace in the minds of men and women

Education for the 21st century: learning to learn

Peace is proclaimed in treaties but made in the hearts and minds of peoples. The premise on which UNESCO is founded remains as true as when it was affirmed fifty years ago following "the great and terrible war . . . made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races."

The Israeli and Palestinian peoples, sustained by the political vision and courage of their leaders, are engaged in an historic process of reconciliation aimed at bringing to an end long years of bloodshed and injustice and laying the foundations for the construction of a culture of peace within their societies, their territories and their region.

At this time when their commitment to peace is being so cruelly tested, I appeal to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples not to be deflected from their course by the terrorist's blind savagery. Let the actions of the extremists be seen for what they are impotence in the face of the peace process, an attack on peace itself that is a challenge not only for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples but for all the countries concerned.

Such outrages must not be allowed to prompt a return to the vicious circle of retaliatory violence. The firmest measures must be taken to stamp out terrorism which is why I strongly support current initiatives to co-ordinate action against terrorism in the region. We must show that our vision of peace with justice is stronger and more enduring than any sectarian doctrine of hatred and exclusion. Let peace be our common combat and shared victory.

I invite all those men and women who share the conviction expressed in this Appeal to manifest their steadfast commitment to the peace process in the Middle East by writing to me at UNESCO.

Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO


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April 1996

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