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26 / 06 / 2004
Cora Weiss: “Peace isn’t part of our genetic makeup, we have to learn it”

“Educating and mobilizing for a culture of peace” is the theme that the dialogue “Towards a World Without Violence” will deal with today. In the plenary morning session, the speakers agreed on pointing out that we live in a culture of violence and presented diverse proposals to eradicate it.

Antoni Soler, vice-president of the Foundation for Peace, condemned the “false dilemma between violence and passivity.” According to him, we have to encourage an equal or more radical rejection of the two. For this, he suggested rebelling against the opponent but without loosing respect. He also requested the public not to transfer the challenge of social change to the next generation but rather assume their responsibilities as adults.

In representation of the International Association of Educators for Peace (Mexico), Gloria Ramírez stated “the urgent need” to look for the consensus among all the people who play a role in the education for peace and human rights. Ramírez regretted that “in Latin America being an educator is a risk” and advocated that a decent education should be a human right.

Marta Santos País, director of Planning for UNICEF, stressed the importance of education as a strategic element for building peace. In her speech, she defended a new approach to children as “the only hope for changing the world; as a part of the solution, not the problem.”

José Luis Bautista, in the name of the schools set up, he explained the violence prevention program that is applied at his educative centers. The experience, according to Bautista, has brought them now to consider “the education in values to be more important than the transcript,” and he convinced them that a better education consists of “less pamphlets and more training.”

Lastly, Cora Weiss, president of The Hague Appeal for Peace, posed a few rhetorical questions. “Do we teach students to make money or how to make a difference in the world? To become good researchers or good people?” Weiss insisted on the need to educate people on peace because it “isn’t part of our genetic makeup.” The only way possible, in his opinion, is to “integrate a holistic approach of education for peace.” “Professors are the most important people in the world” for Weiss “because there is another way, and it is in our hands.”