By: Patricia Ann Talley, Founder of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee and member of the Advisory Council of Leader for the International Cities of Peace Organization
Our kids see acts of violence everyday on TV. Tragically, some even live in violent surroundings. We buy toy guns for them. They play video games of “shoot to kill.” If all they see are acts of violence, how will our children ever learn to make peace? How will they learn to respect and honor the diversity of others?
So, back in 2010, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo started to take action! If we want peace, we must teach peace.
In 2010, with the help of the Detroit Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan and the World Peace Prayer Society in New York, we created the The Zihuatanejo Model for Sustainable Peace Building and started to implement an annual peace education program as part of its requirements. We also started an annual Celebration of Peace event.
In November 2014, this model for peace-building was accepted by the International Cities of Peace Organization as the criteria to become “certified” as an International City of Peace. Our model is now an example for other cities in Mexico and around the world to use for their peace-building activities.
For our 2015 Celebration of Peace, Zihuatanejo welcomed international dignitaries, our state governor, the mayor, and people everywhere to see Zihuatanejo become the world’s first “Certified” International City of Peace! Bravo Zihuatanejo!
We had Yoga for Peace with special guest Master Charles Kim from the Peace School in Chicago.
Kids, from low-income neighborhoods in Zihuatanejo attended the yoga event, courtesy of Viceroy Hotel, one of our luxury resorts. Thank you, Viceroy, for also providing courtesy accommodations for the Kims.
Ms. Fumi Johns, from the World Peace Prayer Society in New York, came with the Ambassador of Peace Art Collection, on tour for the first time in Mexico– in Zihuatanejo!
Ms. Fumi Johns donated this art exhibit to the children of Zihuatanejo. The Zihuatanejo Peace Committee plans for it to tour schools and cultural centers in the area.
We held an International Youth Peace Webinar and an Educators Webinar for Peace. Students from Zihuatanejo were connected to other students from around the world. Youth made presentations expressing their visions of peace and received tools and advice for peacemaking.
Hosts of the conference were (left to right) Anahi Toledo of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee; Dr. Talia Weltman-Cisneros from Wayne State University; Professor Patricia Ann Talley, Executive Director of Peace in Action! Education Collaborative; and Jennifer Kim, the Co-chair of the Education Peace Team.
Government officials, business leaders, educators, and members of civic organizations attended a peace seminar conducted by Mr. Liberato “Levi” Bautista from the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations for Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), and an internationally renowned expert on human rights.
Our state of Guerrero is rich in diversity. Our local indigenous group performed traditional rituals.
And then, it was time for the children of Zihuatanejo to celebrate with flags, songs, dancing, and joy!
Please note: This TV video incorrectly claims certification by the United Nations. The certification was by the International Cities of Peace Organization.
On behalf the International Cities of Peace Organization and our Executive Director, J. Fred Arment, I was honored to proclaim Zihuatanejo as the first “Certified” International City of Peace in the world!
Mayor Ing. Luis Fernando Vergara Silva; Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, the new General Director of the Peace Committee; and Governor Dr. Salvador Rogelio Ortega Martínez joined the celebration to receive the certification.
It has been an honor to serve as director of the peace program over the past five years, and to witness this grand achievement. Many people have worked behind the scenes for many years – Bill, Donají, Guille, Gaby, Francisco, my mother Barbara Talley, Barbara Seldon, Deborah, Gerarda and Club Rotary Zihuatanejo, and many, many more. I thank all of you for your time, efforts, resources, ideas, and devotion.
Now, Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo will serve as the new General Director of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee. We thank her for the help, and the help of the new Zihuatanejo Peace Committee this year. We could not have done it without her and her team! And, we admire her for her vision to continue. Plans are already underway for student interchange programs for peace education in 2015 and 2016.
Congratulations Ixtapa Zihuatanejo!
MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH!
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: