By: Patricia Ann Talley, Founder of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee, and Advisor to the International Cities of Peace Organization
This year we host the Fifth Annual Celebration of Peace in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. The community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo will become a “Certified International City of Peace” at a ceremony beginning at 5:00 pm at the Peace Pole Monument, next to the museum in Zihuatanejo. The festivities include a ceremony at the Peace Pole, a Peace Walk along the waterfront to the main basketball court, and then a wonderful celebration featuring the children of Zihuatanejo.
Some people have commented, “A city of peace! Zihuatanejo? We’ve got all kinds of problems here.” And, in October of last year, there were forty-three students kidnapped and murdered in our state. Our youth and young adults are calling out for recognition and protection of their human rights. Not just here in Mexico, but across the world. In the United States, youth are protesting the disproportional arrests and killings of African-Americans by police. Recently, Canada singled itself out as the only country to raise objections over a landmark United Nations document re-establishing the protection of the rights of indigenous people.
The point is – what do we do about it?
Back in 2010, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo started to take action by forming a Peace Committee, comprised of government representatives, educators, and civic organizations. Through collaboration with the World Peace Prayer Society in New York, CoNGO (The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations), the International Cities of Peace Organization, and many other supporters and friends, our committee developed criteria to be a “Certified International City of Peace.” Zihuatanejo is the “test market” – the first city to implement this new peace certification program. (See: The Zihuatanejo Model for Sustainable Peace Education – handout)
The most important criterion for certification is the development of a sustainable peace education program. This year, we are proud to host an International Youth Peace Webinar and Convention – in Spanish and English. We will also host an International Educators Webinar and Conference for Peace. Members of the Education Team of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the United Nations will join us. Out theme is: Peace in Action!
Also this year, Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, who has served on the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee for several years, will now serve as its new director. Plans are already underway for student interchange programs for peace education in 2015 and 2016.
Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo has volunteered to serve as the new director of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee. She has served on the committee for several years.
Please join us for this wonderful celebration and act of peace! The ceremony begins at the Peace Pole Monument at 5:00 pm sharp! Wear White!
Then, we will walk to the basketball court for a ceremony of world flags and entertainment by the children of Zihuatanejo.
MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH!
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: