By: Fred Arment, Executive Director of International Cities of Peace Organization
On February 8, 2015, as the world looked on with admiration, Zihuatanejo became the first “certified” city of peace under a brilliant new model for cities to work locally toward a culture of peace. The Zihuatanejo Model for Sustainable Peace Education was developed by long-time peace educator Patricia Ann Talley and incorporated and developed by leaders and citizens of this beautiful and pacific community.
In recognition for this community-wide peace building effort in the State of Guerrero, International Cities of Peace recognized the achievements and Zihuatanejo joined the growing global association of cities of peace. International Cities of Peace is an association of citizens and groups self-defining their communities as cities of peace by intention as well as high-impact grassroots activism. Many cities are taking action toward building a culture of peace through peacebuilding efforts that run the gambit from art to wellness, education to the environment. Key to this effort is having respect and striving for unity around the consensus values of peace: safety, prosperity, and equality of life.
In February 2015, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico hosted a grand celebration and became the first “Certified” International City of Peace. Please note: This TV video incorrectly claims certification by the United Nations. The certification was by the International Cities of Peace Organization.
With over 100 cities of peace on five continents, International Cities of Peace has established a vision of 1,000 cities of peace by year 2020. Can you imagine the power and influence that 1,000 cities of peace will have on the culture of our world?
As executive director of International Cities of Peace, I am very excited about the partnership between our association and the peace building community of Zihuatanejo. We will work together to end violence, relieve poverty and increase education. We will work together for children’s welfare and the rights of women. We will work together to put in place the infrastructure, or groundwork, for a future of true peace.
Fred Arment is the Founding Director of International Cities of Peace. “I am excited about the partnership between our association and the peace building community of Zihuatanejo.”
The Model for Sustainable Peace Building developed in Zihuatanejo is very important. The vision of a sustainable model for a city of peace will send vibrations of peace and provide inspiration for practical peace building across Mexico and the world. The Zihuatanejo experience will create enthusiasm and provide ideas for how to build peace in each of our communities. Because of the initiatives in Zihuatanejo, people will have greater hope. As they celebrate International Day of Peace, plant peace poles, educate on diversity, prosper through tourism, and focus on the good things about their history and community, peace will become like seeds in the minds of our youth. Those seeds will flower and bear fruit for many years to come.
Students in Zihuatanejo march for peace!
Can an entire community shift toward a culture of peace? As we reach the milestone of over 100 cities of peace, there is great hope that our local and national governments will begin the transformation. Imagine your city or village finding unity and purpose around the principles of peace: celebrating diversity, valuing education for children, encouraging the arts, and managing society with compassion. It is not only possible, it is happening all over the globe!
For instance, in Fizi and Kolwezi, D.R. Congo, they are building schools for orphans. In Nicosia, Cyprus they are working for reconciliation and unity in a divided nation. In Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, they have dedicated a statue to the iconic Peace Pilgrim. In Bamenda, Cameroon, they are digging wells to provide clean water for families.
In Zihuatanejo, the work of peace has been continuous for many years. The peace program has done wonders in providing support for low-income children in the area. The community’s “Rice and Beans” food program has provided over 30,000 nourishing meals per year and supported over 120 bright students.
The cities that are a part of International Cities of Peace share strategies and best practices for peacebuilding. This accelerates the growing trends and fosters grassroots infrastructures of peace. Imagine a future when cities of peace around the world are fostering a local/global culture of peace more powerful than the forces of division and violence. Imagine when peacemakers can effectively impact global events. It’s coming quickly. The soil is tilled and the garden is seeded.
Now you can be an important part of this extraordinary shift in the consciousness of communities. By having 1,000 International Cities of Peace by 2020, we will establish the international foundation for peace on local and national levels around the globe. Together, through collaboration, we can meet or exceed the goal of 1,000 cities of peace by 2020.
The staff at International Cities of Peace and the peace organizations in the State of Guerrero will work with you through the process of forming a city of peace initiative in your community. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Act local, connect global!™
For more information on International Cities of Peace:
- Website: http://www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org/
- The Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalFeast
- Zihuatanejo, a Certified City of Peace: http://www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org/cities/zihuatanejo/zihuatanejo.html
A note about the author: Mr. J. Frederick Arment lives with his family and friends in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A., where he is Founding Director of the global organization International Cities of Peace. He is a professional writer and has written books on peace. Mr. Arment was one of the founders of the peace museum in his city and works with the International Day of Peace NGO.
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: