In commemoration of the International Day of Peace on September 21st, the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Visitors & Conventions Bureau and the City of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México have launched a variety of free workshops and activities for children and young adults as part of the United Nations “Education for Peace” program.
Continuing until February 2014, the community’s “Education for Peace” program is designed to inspire personal growth and development, respect for diversity, and conservation of the environment.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s “Education for Peace” program is part of the tropical resort area’s annual certification as a “Culture of Peace Community” in partnership with the United Nations. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is the first community in Latin America to participate in this annual peace certification program, developed in 2010 with the help of the Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan, USA and The World Peace Prayer Society in New York, USA, and is the first community to receive this important recognition.
In addition to the implementation of an on-going peace education program for the community, the annual “Culture of Peace” certification included the construction of a Peace Pole Monument on the beachfront in Zihuatanejo, and the yearly commemoration of the International Day of Peace.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo launched its “Education for Peace” program on the International Day of Peace Commemoration on September 21st at the Peace Pole Monument. State and city officials, civic organizations, business associations, residents and students attended.
“We’re excited about this year’s “Education for Peace” program that will be better than ever,” states Pedro Castelán, Executive Director of the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Conventions & Visitors Bureau that is helping to organize and coordinate the peace educational program. “More institutions, organizations and businesses are volunteering to support the effort in very creative and innovative ways,” says Castelán. Some examples are:
The Municipal Department of Education, with help from “Por Los Niños” Charity, will distribute Spanish-language educational materials provided by the UN Education Peace Team to elementary schools including games, art projects, activities and songs to teach students about human rights and creating peaceful relationships among family, friends and other children of the world.
El Refugio de Potosi Wildlife Refuge, with assistance from the Municipal Department of Ecology, will have a traveling photo exposition displaying the flora and fauna of the coast of Guerrero that are extinct, endangered, at risk or require special protection. Designed to promote conservation, the photo gallery will travel to public places, junior highs and high schools in Zihuatanejo.
Universidad Autonóma de Guerrero, Zihuatanejo’s tourism university will give presentations to high school and university students about diversity, including the story of Afro-Mexican President Vicente Guerrero, for whom the state is named, and the history and cultural traditions of Afro-Mexicans in the state. This presentation is the result of a past peace education project that was funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. (See: www.FreedomPathways.org).
Capella Resort Ixtapa hopes to inspire kids to seek career opportunities in the hotel industry and will help teach them how peace relates to providing quality service. Children will enjoy pastry classes with the Chef and massages in the Spa to expose them to culinary and health therapeutic careers and to demonstrate the importance of good service. Other hotels in the destination are also developing educational workshops and activities.
Club Skal Ixtapa 646, a local tourism association that donated to the community’s Peace Pole Monument, has provided miniature replicas of monument to be awarded to all schools, businesses and organizations that participate in this year’s “Education for Peace” program.
The peace education workshops and activities will continue throughout the year, concluding February 4-9, 2014 at the Zihuatanejo Sail Fest sponsored by the “Por Los Niños” Charity. The event includes sailboat rides, beachfront sports, a chili cook-off, school tours, raffles, music concerts and other cultural activities to raise funds to build schools in Zihuatanejo and to provide student scholarships. The Municipal Department of Tourism will host Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s “Culture of Peace” Re-certification Ceremony at the closing of the event on February 9th. The international community is invited to attend.
“We are honored to participate in this important program and are committed to promoting peace and harmony throughout the community,” said Angel Aguirre Rivero, Governor of the State of Guerrero. “We hope these initiatives and programs inspire travelers to visit and experience the beauty of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.”
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: