NGO UNESCO Liaison committee

NGO International Conference

NGO UNESCO Liaison committee - NGO International Conference

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace
21 September 2020
“Peace on earth is everyone’s responsibility; it is a universal responsibility.”
On this International Day of Peace, these words, spoken by Otomí Tolteca, a member of Mexico’s indigenous Otomí community, remind us of our duty to show solidarity towards our fellow human beings; the building and defending of peace is a universal enterprise, a collective undertaking, which is carried out daily and which concerns us all.
Being responsible for peace means acting, on a personal scale, to overcome the flaws and injustices which continue to prevent us from achieving an egalitarian world. Because a fractured planet is a planet which knows no peace.
Seventy-five years ago, in the aftermath of a terrible war, the world equipped itself with an instrument for building peace over time, through dialogue and compromise: the United Nations.
At UNESCO it is our conviction that this mission must necessarily and from the very outset involve work on education, culture and science, given that, as expressed in our Constitution, “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.
Ours is a conviction held firmly in both the mind and the heart: every day, through our programmes and our actions in the field, UNESCO reaffirms our founders’ commitment to ensuring that peace is more than just the absence of war. It is this commitment which we resolutely honour throughout the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022).
Nevertheless, because peace requires daily effort and entails transformation, the path towards universal peace is a long one. Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first President of an independent Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, liked to say that “Peace is not a word, but a behaviour”. We celebrate his legacy by awarding the Félix Houphouët-Boigny – UNESCO Peace Prize.
Now more than ever, solidarity and cooperation are essential to building peaceful societies and fighting against discrimination, particularly the kinds of discrimination to which the world’s most vulnerable populations are subjected.
On the occasion of this International Day, our Organization calls on everyone to engage in dialogue and to share ideas about the future with due respect for diversity of opinion and of perspective. This is a challenge we must face together in order to achieve lasting peace worldwide.