Zihuatanejo Delegation Visits San Miguel de Allende to Promote “Peace and Tourism”

A delegation from Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, visited the community of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, to participate in that community’s first peace conference, and to promote peace and tourism. The conference, entitled “Peace and Prosperity,” was held on April 25, and was sponsored by Camino de la Paz Organization and the local Rotary Clubs. Over 120 people attended the peace conference at the Mission Hotel that was simultaneous translated in Spanish and English.

Zihuatanejo delegates at the peace conference included Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, the new Director of Peace for the state of Guerrero; Pedro Castelán, Director of Conventions & Visitors Bureau of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo; Anahi Toledo, Public Relations for the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee; Bill Tucker, Chairman of Peace in Action Collaborative Group; and Patricia Ann Talley, an advisor to the International Cities of Peace Organization, who spoke at the conference.

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Pictured are (left to right): Carlos Olivares of Club Rotary San Miguel (Spanish); Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, Director of Peace for the state of Guerrero; Tom Schneider of Midday Rotary (English); speaker, Jean Paul Peretz; Pedro Castelán, Director of CVB Ixtapa Zihuatanejo; Dr. Beverly Nelson of Camino de Paz; (seated from left) speaker Patricia Ann Talley; speaker Paty de Obeso; and speaker Wendy Coulson.

Keynote speaker Paty de Obeso of the Vision of Humanity – Institute for Economics and Peace that publishes the Global Peace Index and Mexico Peace Index, annual measures of peacefulness, presented data estimating the economic impact of violence, and the economic benefits that would flow from increases in positive peace. She discussed the relationships between business, peace and prosperity, and promoting a better understanding of the cultural, economic and political factors that create peace.

Speaker, Patricia Ann Talley, Executive Director of Peace in Action Collaborative and an advisor to the International Cities of Peace Organization, reviewed the exact steps needed to have San Miguel de Allende become “certified” as an International City of Peace. In February 2015, Zihuatanejo became the world’s first “certified” International City of Peace using this model. See: Model for Sustainable Peace Building . There are currently about 100 cities of peace, and the organization hopes to have 1,000 cities by the year 2020. Before the conference, Talley, a member of Club Rotary of Zihuatanejo, also met with the Rotary Clubs (Spanish and English) in San Miguel de Allende, the co-hosts of the peace conference.

Presentation to Club Rotary SMA

Before the conference, Patricia Talley, a member of Club Rotary of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, presented details of the certification program for the International Cities of Peace Organization to Club Rotary of San Miguel de Allende (Spanish speaking) and to the Midday Rotary Club (English speaking).

Speaker, Wendy Coulson is San Miguel’s first Rotary Peace Fellow and a recent graduate from the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, where she studied peace and conflict resolution. She encouraged students to apply for the fellowship to increase the number of Rotary Peace Fellows in Mexico, which is now only ten. She also talked about her desires to teach a new Rotary peace curriculum in San Miguel and around Mexico.

Speaker, Jean Paul Peretz is a facilitator of the Peace Education Program (PEP) sponsored by the Prem Rawat Foundation. He presented the successful results of the PEP with the police force, prisoners, drug addicts and the public in San Miguel and in many different venues including business schools around the world. Results include reductions of gang violence and criminal recidivism and increases of prosperity as measured by overall wellbeing.

The highlight of the conference was the announcement of the winner of a student competition for a peace program for the community. The competition was conducted by Universidad de Leon with a prize of $2,000 pesos (about $150 usd). Antonio Francisco Vega won for his concept to promote peace among young people by creating graffiti art murals with positive graphics to spread the message of peace in high conflict and/or marginal areas of the city.

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Carlos Oliveras (left) from Club Rotary of San Miguel de Allende presented the student peace competition award to Antonio Francisco Vega from Universidad de Leon for his concept to promote peace through graffiti art murals in high-risk neighborhoods throughout the city.

Camino de la Paz and the Rotary Clubs of San Miguel were delighted that the Conference attracted so many quality people. The next peace event will be the UN International Day of Peace on September 21.

For more information about the San Miguel de Allende peace program, contact: Tom Schneider toms12@gmail.com (415) 109-7688.

Related Article:

Zihuatanejo -A “Certified” Member of International Cities of Peace: Goal for year 2020 is 1000 Cities

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