21 September 2006
UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura has issued a message encouraging all nations to promote the International Day of Peace, 21 September. The Director-General emphasized that the need for peace is more relevant today than ever before. UNESCO’s special mandate within the United Nations is to promote peace and security through international cooperation in the areas of education, culture, the sciences and communication and information. UNESCO also is leading the United Nations’ International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).The International Day of Peace was first designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981. This year on 21 September UNESCO will award its 2006 Prize for Peace Education to Mr Christopher Gregory Weeramantry (Sri Lanka) in recognition of his ongoing commitment and work in support of the concept and culture of peace. The Fundación para la Reconciliación (Colombia) will receive a Special Mention under the Prize for its efforts in introducing the concept of "emotional literacy" as a means of promoting reconciliation and forgiveness.
The Director-General concluded his message by calling on the worldwide UNESCO community to take the opportunity presented by the International Day of Peace to “re-commit ourselves to making a peaceful world a reality.”