Education for peace, third phase of UNESCO project in GuatemalaEducation for Peace, the third phase of UNESCO’s Culture of Peace in Guatemala Project, which aims to promote a culture of social co-existence based on respect for human rights, conflict resolution through dialogue, tolerance and cultural diversity, will be launched in January thanks to an agreement between UNESCO and the Italian government that is to be signed tomorrow.
The Comisión del Esclarecimiento Histórico (CEH) - established after the signing of agreements between the government and URNG (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca), which ended 34 years of civil war - invited UNESCO to assist the process of transforming Guatemalan society from an authoritarian and violent culture to a culture of mutual respect and peace.
The Ministry of Education of Guatemala is fully committed to the project, which UNESCO is implementing in close co-operation with the Community of Sant’Egidio, laureate of the 1999 UNESCO Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize.
The first phase of the project was developed in 2000. It introduced human rights, democracy and social justice education into civic education school curricula. Actions were also taken targeting teachers, youth movement monitors and social workers. The Second Phase, from June 2001 to December 3, focusing on the development of the educational aspect, notably on curricular reforms, also sought to involve civil society in the process of national reconciliation and in ending violent and authoritarian attitudes. Popular and indigenous radio programme hosts also received such training.
The third phase, scheduled to last 18 months, has two parts: education (teaching reform and civic education) and “social incidence”, i.e. overcoming socio-cultural problems which at present hinder the development of a trusting relationship between citizens and institutions, between the state and civil society (reconciliation and mediation; research and communication), extending beyond the capital to the provinces of Chimaltenango, Sololá, Alta Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango and Izabal. Some of these provinces are among the poorest in the country and are home to a large indigenous population.
This new phase of the project, which will start next January, is made possible, as were the previous phases, thanks to the provision of US$ 873,682 dollars, in funds-in-trust, by the government of Italy. The agreement to this effect will be signed on Thursday November 27 at the Permanent Delegation of Italy to UNESCO (at 10 a.m.) in the presence of the Ambassador of Guatemala to the Organization.
Journalists wishing to attend the signing of the agreement are requested to contact the Italian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, tel. 01 45 68 31 41.