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Francisco Lacayo Parajon, Mirta Lourenço and David Adams
UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme

The Culture of Peace Proposal

In November 1992, the 51-nation Executive Board of UNESCO decided to establish an action programme for a culture of peace in order to contribute to the process of peace-building that had recently been formulated in An Agenda for Peace by UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. As the first step in fulfilling this decision, a draft proposal was formulated and sent to leading social scientists and peace researchers around the world.

The draft proposal called for a process of "cross-conflict participation in projects of human development." By this was meant that the reconciliation of those who had been fighting against each other in the past would be promoted by their joint participation in the planning and implementation of projects designed to benefit all concerned in fields such as education, culture, communication and science.

This proposal was based on the well-established finding by social psychologists that reconciliation after violent conflict is best accomplished by a process of working together on tasks with a "superordinate" goal, i.e. a goal which is to the benefit of all parties to the conflict. Although the finding has been replicated in laboratory experiments and social settings such as those found in industrial enterprises, it had never been tested in situation as complex as those in countries emerging from a bitter civil war (Blake and Mouton, 1979; Sherif, 1979; Worchel, 1986).

In general, the proposal was supported by all of the experts consulted. They pointed out that it combined two important trends: the increasing emphasis on conflict management and transformation; and the growing awareness of the importance of human development as an orientation of development aid programmes to reduce poverty and eliminate the root causes of violent conflict.

One of the responses of the experts consulted was to point out the need for involvement of experienced trainers who could help the participants overcome their mistrust and differences and achieve a higher "peace culture consciousness" in the course of working with their former enemies.

The experts pointed out that these trainers (later called "peace promoters" on the basis of the Central American experience) should be able to take into account the deep cultures, values, assumptions and fundamental social goals of the participants, rather than trying to impose methodologies or goals from the outside. A culture of peace, it was emphasized, could only flourish on the basis of the shared values, traditions and culture of those concerned.

Further, it was emphasized that the actors in the building of a culture of peace needed to come from all parts of the society, including both leaders (both elected and traditional) and ordinary people, especially those who had suffered from the previous conflict and who, therefore, have the greatest desire for the transformation to peace.

Finally, the experts suggested that the experiences gained by those engaged in cross-conflict participation could be extended to the general population through education, both formal and non-formal, especially through the effective use of the mass media. In this way, the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of a culture of peace, based on local and real events, could be disseminated and could contribute to a national, and eventually a global consciousness of a culture of peace.

The Culture of Peace Programme was formally instituted by the 27th General Conference of UNESCO in November 1993. In addressing the Conference, having been re-elected as Director-General of the Organization, Federico Mayor attached special importance priority to the culture of peace, saying that he would make it a personal priority for his attention in the coming years.

And at the following 28th General Conference of UNESCO, in November 1995, the culture of peace was recognized as a priority which must involve all of the sectors of the organization. Hence, it was expanded into a transdisciplinary project.


The present paper takes as its point of departure a description of the pioneer programme of the UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme: the National Programme in El Salvador; and its first project - support for poor women through radio programmes and campaigns. A rigorous evaluation has yet to be made, but it is possible here to present an initial description of the process through which it has developed from the workshop designing the first project in mid-1994 to the daily broadcasting of radio programmes, which started in September 1995.

Several aspects of the process of developing the programme are considered in detail, as they will probably be of concern in the development of other such programmes and the generalization of the process to other countries and situations. These include the strategy of a culture of peace programme, means of assuring its sustainability, indicators and evaluation of its successes and failures; and the concept and training of the peace promoter.

Finally, consideration will be given to the question of expanding the culture of peace from national programmes to a global movement.


At the same time as UNESCO was first formulating its Action Programme for a Culture of Peace, the people of El Salvador were emerging, with the help of the United Nations, from a long and bitter civil war. The agreements in the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords had afforded the Salvadorians the opportunity for a process of national reconciliation following a bitter armed conflict between the government and the guerilla movements united in the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The Accords, mediated by the United Nations, provided a framework for an extensive military peace-keeping operation and a broad and extensive post-conflict peace-building programme of the United Nations.

Although no provisions were contained in the Chapultepec Accords for a national culture of peace programme, UNESCO offered to help establish such a programme. The El Salvador Culture of Peace Programme was established following a Forum for Education and Culture of Peace held in San Salvador in April 1993 which was sponsored by the El Salvador Ministry of Education and UNESCO and which included participation of non-governmental organizations (NGO's) from the civil society, including representatives from the FMLN.

The Programme defined a conceptual framework, a methodology and priorities of action by which human development projects could be carried out as common tasks and to address common needs of those who had been enemies in the past. In agreeing to take part in the Programme, they committed themselves to a continuous process of dialogue and negotiation, despite the history of differences, injuries and killings, which would otherwise have kept the participants apart.

The guidelines of the Programme demanded that the participants from opposing sides of the previous conflict must work together at every stage in the process of elaborating and implementing human development projects:

1) Chose the priority areas and target populations for projects;
2) Prepare the project profiles and documents, agreeing by consensus upon their objectives, outcomes, activities, beneficiary populations and participating institutions;
3) Prepare overall work plans and timetables;
4) Set up the National Coordination Council (including election of representatives from the NGO Consortium);
5) Set up a Technical Committee for each project (also including choosing of representatives from NGO Consortium);
6) Select project coordinators or managers;
7) Prepare detailed work plans for each project;
8) Follow up and evaluate the projects.

To ensure the fundamental principles of participation, dialogue and concertation (meant by free dialogue or non-binding conversation in French), the Programme was provided with a National Coordination Council (NCC) for the Programme, with the participation of 15 members (The Minister of Education, the National Council for Culture, the Ombudsman's Office for Human Rights, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Salvadorian Institute for Municipal Development, six representatives of the Consortium of 110 NGOs participating in the programme, and three representatives of other NGO's or national foundations). The NGO Consortium includes representation of those who have been associated with the FMLN although they are not differentiated as such.

The NCC, the first such council in Central America, was established on 10 March 1995 through an Executive Decree of the Presidency and is headed by the Minister of Education. It is responsible for the definition and follow-up of the major policies of the Programme. Although it was frequently difficult during the first year of operation, the NCC tried to make all major decisions by consensus. Among the most difficult problems was agreement on the limits of what had to be decided by consensus!

As it is composed of both governmental and non-governmental representatives, the NCC has certain tensions built into its structure from the beginning. For example, whereas government representatives are chosen by a top-down process (it is decision of the Minister of Education), those from the NGO's are chosen from the bottom-up.

The NCC established a National Executive Committee to function as its executing body. It is composed from representative delegates of the Council. Because of the nature of the decisions and the Ministerial rank of some of its members, the Council meets infrequently. Thus, the ordinary decisions are delegated to its Executive Committee which follows the direct execution of the programme, for example, its funding decisions.


A number of major projects have been conceived and carried to the point of having detailed project profiles and documents elaborated through the process of participation, dialogue and concertation. The project documents have been submitted to potential donors institutions, but in only one case so far has the funding been obtained for implementation.

This first project to be carried out is the production of daily radio broadcasts and non-formal education campaigns for the most needy and neglected women in the country. The project, 507/ELS/01, is sponsored by UNESCO and financed from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The radio shows are produced by a team composed of professionals from the NGO's, the radio and the government. The first broadcast was in September 1995, and by March 1996 the show was being broadcast daily by 24 stations, already surpassing the initial goal which had been 14 stations by the end of the project in 1998. In technical terms, the project achieved a high implementation rate of 88% in its first year of operation.

Some of the radio stations are national, while others are regional or local. In addition the programmes are broadcast by loudspeakers at popular markets, where the vendors and buyers are mostly women. The span of transmission at various stations ranges from 5 AM (which catches women factory workers at night shifts) to 8 PM. Each show is composed of a number of segments dealing with various subjects, such as Health and Environment. Some of the 70 selected segments include the following themes:

*Legal rights of women: Labour law in case of pregnancy; salary problems related to coffee cutters; examples of work in the non-formal sector (where women are concentrated) and its advantages and disadvantages, including those to the family and community, in both cities and countryside.

*Violence against women: Violence in couples; the circle of violence; most common beliefs concerning psychological violence; ways to prevent psychological violence; sexual violence.

*Sharing of domestic work: Examples and advantages in sharing household work; problems in couples when domestic work is not shared.

*Self-esteem: What is self-esteem? Which are women's values.

Since the content of the segments address mostly serious problems faced by poor women, there is always the risk of producing a depressing radio show and losing the audience. Therefore, other segments of broadcasts, such as music or cultural flashes, are lighter and entertaining, so that the listeners can catch their breath!
In order to measure and improve the effectiveness of broadcasts, both a set of validation criteria and a number of different validation instruments were tested on the radio shows in 1995. The methodology consisted of an individual survey followed by a group survey. Five key aspects of the radio shows were measured: leadership; level of interest; clarity; usefulness; and duration. The project team also monitors the transmission of the show by each radio station.

In addition to the radio shows, the project has conducted a series of workshops to raise awareness on gender issues for media professionals and has established a network of 64 community correspondents.

Participants in the workshops ranged from reporters and journalists to programme managers, media directors and decision-makers. They discussed means to help change the conditions of poor women through their role in the handling and decision-making of information carried in the mass media.
The community correspondents are mostly young women, coming from diverse sectors of Salvadorian society, including of course women?s NGOs, radios and government. They feed the radio shows with news from all over the country, thus guaranteeing that it has good quality information of interest and reality to the listening audience.

The non-formal education campaigns will start in June 1996. Although it was originally planned for November, the date was advanced through a process of discussion among all project participants. The argument was made that November is the popular sugar-crop season and people?s attention would be diverted from the campaign if it were launched at that time.

There are two campaigns planned in the project and the consideration of their themes is still on-going and very rich. Again, it has involved all three project partners in discussions of what they consider to be the major problems faced by Salvadorian women and to choose two national priorities on which to focus the campaigns.
The campaigns, in turn, will reinforce the work carried out through the radio shows. The radio listeners will be visited during the first phase by one of the 1,500 female and male campaign promoters, whose training has already begun in more than 51 municipalities. The objective of the training is that the organizations working in municipalities, communities and rural areas will educate people on the themes being addressed by the radio shows (violence, rights, health, environment, etc.). The project provides the campaign with both training and material.

In summary, both the radio shows and the campaigns assist the people of El Salvador to conduct a national dialogue on the critical issues of building a culture of peace.


A basic principle of the culture of peace is that the process by which a project develops, including the way people are transformed through their own actions and their social interactions, is as important as the technical objectives and results of the project. Hence, considerable space will be devoted to a description of that process.
The significance and difficulties of the project need to be understood against a background of the difficult situation that El Salvador finds itself in during the years 1993-1996. Although the civil war has ended, and the country is engaged in a process of reconciliation and reconstruction, there is still a high level of social injustice, violence and mistrust. The death rate from violence, much of it carried out by death squads and bandits who were previously combatants in the civil war, is as great as during the war itself. Poverty, landlessness and unemployment are still at high levels. And now that the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping forces have finished their operations and left, there is a feeling by some sectors in El Salvador that a UN Mission is still needed to complete the Peace Accords.

The project of support for poor women through radio programmes and campaigns was designed by a UNESCO-coordinated workshop which lasted for three weeks in mid-1994 and which involved 15 or so representatives from the government, the community radios and women's organizations. For three weeks they suggested, debated and ultimately agreed upon the objectives, outputs and activities of the project.

At that time there was a considerable level of aggression and mistrust among the workshop participants. Which party would benefit more from the project? Who would "own" the equipment that was purchased? What would be the implications of using a government conference room for training? At one point the participants, meeting without UNESCO presence, decided to take the funds of the project and divide them into three parts, one for the radio stations, one for the women's NGOs and one for the government so that they could each work independently of the others. This "decision", which today brings laughter to those running the project, shows how difficult it was at first for the participants to even consider that they could work together in a way that would be beneficial to all.

For a time, it seemed that it would be impossible even to agree on the objectives of the project. The impasse continued until the third week of the workshop, at which point, UNESCO took a leadership role and presented a proposal of the project suggesting objectives and outputs and structuring the debate around substantive issues of radio and gender.

Once the funding was received from the German ministry, a debate started as to whether the NGO's and the radio stations should be subsidized. For example, would the stations be paid for broadcast time, and would the campaign promoters receive salaries and the NGO's receive subsidies? After all, they argued, reconciliation and reconstruction are linked to socio-economic questions, and shouldn't peace be shown to be profitable to the project participants? Extensive meetings were held to discuss these questions.

It was necessary to convince the participants that there were non-monetary benefits to be obtained through the project, that the beneficiaries were the poor Salvadorian women -not themselves, and that they should take part without being directly subsidized by the funds which were needed for project implementation.
For the radio stations, it was pointed out that the programmes would be provided to them without production expenditures and that they could accompany them with advertising to give them profits. Also the project would provide them extensive audience research on Salvadorian women listeners, which even the commercial stations could not afford to carry out. If the programmes were well received, it would give their stations the advantage of attracting the major audience segment in El Salvador - the woman listener. And furthermore, in the case of the community radio stations, it would improve their public image, since rather than being seen as simply the continuation of the previous function of guerilla propaganda, they would now be seen as partners of the government and UNESCO as well as the NGO's.

As for the women's NGO's, there were other advantages. It places them at the same decision-making level as the government, facilitates a regular dialogue with central authorities, and legitimizes their actions in favour of women. It offers them a chance to put forward their agenda and to suggest policy regarding gender issues. Through the widespread broadcast of the programmes, it diffuses their message to women throughout the country, thus mainstreaming and legitimizing their topics.

A Technical Committee for the Project was carefully established from the very beginning to ensure an ongoing process of participation, dialogue and concertation. It is composed of one representative of women' NGO's, one from community radio broadcasters, one from the participating governmental institutions - each representative delegated by their own organization - and one representative from UNESCO.

This Committee supports the Project Coordinator and its professional team, regarding work plans, technical issues and decision-making in the face of contingencies. It maintains a surveillance and monitoring function to guarantee that the project reaches its goals and complies with its lines of dialogue, participation and concertation on behalf of its target populations. For example, the content of each radio show to be broadcast is approved by the Technical Committee before it is recorded. Sometimes one of the representatives may wish to consult their organization before making a decision. This process ensures that their is continuous consultation among the three sectors involved.

The process of consensus was followed at every point of decision-making. Thus, when selecting the 507/ELS/01 project coordinator, UNESCO requested participating governmental and non-governmental organizations to appoint candidates for the position, based on professional and objective criteria. Later, UNESCO invited these same organizations to participate in an interview table charged with selecting the most capable person for the position. Although this process is much more time-consuming than the traditional way of selecting a coordinator, it provides that the person chosen will be someone whom the participants feel they have chosen themselves. This recruiting method posed, however, some problems of leadership and organization for the coordinator during the first implementation year.

In order to decide on the themes to be considered in the radio broadcasts, four coordination meetings were held between August and September 1995. These meetings were attended by representatives of the NGO's, government bodies including the Attorney General's Office, the Ministry of Health, the Family Secretariat, and international organizations including UNICEF, PAHO, FAO and UNFPA. The participants took back to their own organizations information on the nature of the project as a service to all institutions concerned with the status of women and returned to the next meeting with further suggestions and refinements.

A draft of the themes and segments for the first 18 radio shows was then submitted in October to organizations from the three sectors involved (NGO's, Government and radio stations) in order to obtain their feedback, comments and suggestions.

The establishment of the system of community correspondents followed a strategy established by the technical team. They prepared a draft document, which addressed objectives, goals, the training process, the work profiles of correspondents, and levels of coordination with governmental and non-governmental organizations. Two workshops were then held with the NGO's, the radio station and the governmental institute concerned (CONCULTURA). In September 1995 these meetings resulted in the identification and selection of a first group of about 30 possible correspondents from the three sectors involved, most of them young women from diverse sectors of the society. During the first half of October the training plan was drafted, including the themes of the projects, information techniques and gender theory.

The system of community correspondents was explained at an information meeting to 40 participants from governmental and non-governmental organizations and the community radio stations. After presenting the project, the role of the correspondents was explained, including promotion activities, local monitoring of the radio show, identification of women radio themes, and gathering of testimony from the communities.

Training of community correspondents took place in 3-day workshops in October and November 1995, with 15 correspondents at the first and 29 at the second. Both training sessions covered gender issues, characteristics of radio shows and radio techniques for interviews. Training was conducted by representatives from CONCULTURA (governmental), two women' NGO's and two radio representatives. Each correspondent received as a loan a kit made up of a recorder, note pads, pencils and cassettes to record interviews, news and testimonies. Given the lack of opportunity for young women in many of the communities represented, the correspondents expressed their appreciation to the donors and UNESCO, saying that it was almost like a dream for them to work in a project, which directly addresses their own concerns.

The radio shows are produced by a technical team composed of professionals from the NGO's, the radio stations and the government. Each radio show is prepared through a process, which involves considerable research and discussion by the technical and production team. Scripts are prepared for each segment, which are then edited and recorded, using radio formats such as dramas, interviews, testimonies, illustrated conversations and articles. The production entails constant bibliographical investigation, visits to institutions, field studies and interviews. Training on voice, radio formats, gender focus, etc. has also been provided to the production team. An investigation on knowledge, attitudes and practices of Salvadorian women was also carried out and the treatment of certain themes, such as violence, are based on this study.

Over the course of the first year of the project, the technical team has shown a continually maturing ability to resolve problems with one accord, to arrive at agreements despite their differences. By December 1995, they had gone to the other extreme, attempting to make every decision by consensus, whether it concerned the contents of a radio broadcast or the buying of a coffee-maker. Of course, there are limits to this. For example, when it came time to decide whether they should deal with the question of abortion, it was no possible to reach a consensus. Instead, it was agreed not to deal with the subject for the present and to put off the decision until a later time.

The project has set up a Documentation Centre, with information material on women which is linked up through Internet to other UN Documentation Centres, the National Library, universities, etc.

A number of other activities for a culture of peace have been undertaken with the help of UNESCO in El Salvador. These have included a meeting of women political leaders on Culture of Peace, which brought together women mayors, deputies, ministers, political, union and indigenous leaders. Also, a Central American poetry contest was held with young and old female writers to discuss their role in a Culture of Peace. Finally, a Peace Festival, celebrating the anniversary of the Peace Accords, was organized with MINUSAL and various NGOs, private enterprises and embassies. The festival?s cultural activities included debates, films and music events.


In the course of developing the El Salvador Programme, a number of general principles and priorities have emerged which may prove useful in the conception of future peace-building and culture of peace initiatives. These include:

1) The culture of peace as a strategic process of national participation and consensus;
2) An approach which emphasizes sustainability of a culture of peace;
3) The need to develop specific indicators for a culture of peace along with a process of continual and participatory evaluation and renovation;
4) The training and deployment of the peace promoter.

Each of these will now be treated in some detail.


While a cease-fire can only be a tactical decision, a culture of peace project must be strategic. It is a long-term project which demands that the attitudes and behaviours of a culture of peace become the way of being and everyday living of a society, becoming part of its national culture. It involves the rights of the individual person and the well-being and identity of the society; therefore, it must never been seen as a tactical project.

The decision to build a culture of peace must be an historical decision taken as a result of concertation among the different sectors of society in which consensus is reached on its principles, strategies and lines of action.

The practice of consensus does not eliminate differences or conflicts. Instead it unites the interests of all to protect the society from self-destruction and to allow it to build a way of living together on the basis of common values. These should include respect for others, solidarity and non-violent handling of differences and conflicts in order to achieve broader goals such as the elimination of poverty.

Nor does consensus tend towards the "homogenization" of society. Instead a culture of peace is enriched by the variety of traditions and perspectives in a society, provided that there exists a common struggle for equitable development. This can be compared to a tree where the variety of leaves, flowers and fruit, supported by a common root and trunk, allows the development of a harmonic individual despite its heterogeneity. This is why the project for a culture of peace should be integrated within a national global scope based on consensus regarding its most important social, political and economic dimensions.

As implied by the preceding analysis, the building of a peace culture cannot be a single action, nor the simple sum of activities of various projects, but it must be a participative, concerted, systematic and global process. This process cannot be totally independent, but must be inserted fully in all other concertation and reconciliation processes: economic, political, social, and educational.

As any process, this one has certain laws of development. It starts from the simple and builds towards the complex. It begins from what is in common and then includes that which is different. It proceeds from what is urgent to what can be delayed. There are stages in its development: from knowledge of the other party to negotiation and concertation, and finally to common projects and actions in which all parties acknowledge their essential interests, rights and duties.

The experiences in the case of El Salvador suggest the following stages of development in a culture of peace project:

1) A process of dialogue and the acknowledgement of the other party, the different one, or the adversary;

2) A process of negotiation of a new set of rules for social living together (which may not yet assume any agreements for concerted action);

3) A process of concertation, in which the actors see their common interest in a national project for a culture of peace and undertake to go beyond sectarian or partisan interests to work for the good of the entire present and future society.

In order to take these steps, the following basic assumptions are necessary:

1) Conviction that peace and a culture of peace are not only desirable, but also pragmatically necessary, beneficial and possible;
2) Commitment to enter into a permanent process of dialogue with all parties despite the realization that at times it will not be possible to reach full agreement on all differences;
3) Faith in the capacity of negotiation and in the possibility of ultimately reaching a level of coincidence with the values and positions of the different party of the adversary;
4) Belief that concertation on projects of national interest is not only positive and possible, but also necessary for everyone.


A national culture of peace programme needs to aim for sustainability so that it becomes a permanent characteristic of the society. This requires its institutionalization in all of the major social institutions and its interiorization in each individual citizen.

The goal is to institutionalize a new way of living together in society. This means that the values, concepts attitudes, skills and abilities of a culture of peace should become the laws, standards, habits, customs and common sense practices of all social institutions. These include respect for human rights, justice, the capacity and willingness to dialogue and negotiate, the capacity to be open before the unknown, the different and the adversary.

At the same time, these values, attitudes and behaviours need to be internalized by every member of the society so that they become part of their everyday lives.
Therefore, the task of building a culture of peace is at the same time a political task involving the transformation of institutions and a psychological/educational task involving the transformation of the individual. It is an inter-generational task, which involves preparation of future generations for a culture of peace at the same time as it transforms the present social and political environment.


How do we know if the present gains are stable or not, whether they contribute to an authentic and lasting peace, or whether violence may return? To avoid the risk of trying to be everything and ending up being nothing at all, it is necessary that a culture of peace be characterized by specific measurable indicators, both quantitative and qualitative and by evaluation procedures which accompany the implementation process and involve the participants. A similar challenge concerning indicators has been faced by the United Nations system with regard to the concept of sustainable human development. This has been addressed by the systematic development, measurement and publication of human development indicators. Without attempting to copy this precedent exactly, the proponents are also challenged to define, measure and publish indicators for a culture of peace.

This task demands a special technical rigour. Once more, it is best to begin with the simple and then move towards the difficult, and from what is in common to what is different. What is presented here is a first methodological proposal in order begin the process of defining the concept and its indicators.

1) The conditions and contents of a culture of peace need to be distinguished in relation to its related fields including: democracy; human rights; sustainable human development; preservation and protection of the environment; social justice and equity of economic distribution; and administration and peaceful management of differences and conflicts.

2) Precise indicators should be developed to measure the progress of peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation in countries, which have recently emerged from violent conflict, for example:

Peace accords and cease-fire agreements;
Social, juridical and national adherence to these agreements;
Degree of disarmament and demobilization, including the just
and effective reinsertion of ex-combatants in society;
Guarantees of security for those most closely involved in the previous conflict;
Structural, legal and institutional reforms to eliminate the major historical causes
of the previous conflict;
Institutionalization of dialogue, negotiation and concertation at all levels and
within all sectors of society;
Training of decision-makers and opinion-leaders in the principles, contents
and practices of a culture of peace;
Reforms of the educational system to provide education for all and to ensure
the training of educators to provide peace education;
Mobilization of non-formal educational means, including the mass media into the
process of discussing, debating and describing the practical expression of the basic
values, attitudes and behaviours of a culture of peace.

The uniqueness of the culture of peace is that it insists upon the elements of participation, dialogue and concertation, along with the peaceful management of differences and conflicts along each step of development, including project conception, project document preparation, definition of organizational structure, project implementation, follow-up and evaluation. Of course, this takes more flexibility, more time and more resources than traditional social development planning, an aspect which needs to receive consideration in the evaluation process. In particular, these processes are very time-consuming and may seem very slow when compared to traditional performance rates of development projects.

An evaluation procedure is needed which not only measures traditional indicators of results, but which examines every stage of the process to determine if it is a true learning experience for dialogue and concertation. This should concern, first of all, the main actors participating in the programme and projects, the government, non-governmental organizations and UNESCO. In the future, hopefully, the donors will also be involved at the planning level. These actors should be the first subjects of the evaluation process - their attitudes and behaviours and how they have been transformed during the course of their participation in the project.

The evaluation process should involve all of the project stages and levels. The following stages should be assessed: 1) conception, including objectives, outcomes, activities, target populations, participating agencies, etc.); 2) execution; 3) follow-up; and 4) the evaluation itself. The following levels should be involved: 1) national and central levels; 2) participating organizations, including governmental and non-governmental institutions; and 3) grassroots levels, including beneficiary populations and communities who are the subject of the project.

The evaluation should consider both institutional changes (organizational structures, laws, standards, etc.) and changes in individual values, attitudes and behaviours in terms of dialogue, participation and concertation by actors at all levels and all stages of the programme. For example, in the case of the El Salvador experience, institutional changes need to be evaluated in terms of the establishment of the National Coordination Council, its Executive Committee, of the Project Technical Committee, and the Consortium of participating NGOs, as well as the various other institutions taking part in the Programme.

Individual changes of the participants need to be measured with the help of relevant sociological and psychological assessments of the ways they have changed their ways of thinking and behaving.

In the case of the first El Salvador project, an evaluation procedure is needed to analysis how 110 Salvadorian NGOs have been able, through the Culture of Peace Programme, to organize themselves into a consortium, name their own representatives for dialogue with the government, and take part in joint ventures with the government. This ensures that a large part of Salvadorian society is directly or indirectly involved in the reconstruction of their country and consolidation of peace.
It should measure the extent to which the project has enhanced the dialogue capacities of the participants, both governmental and non-governmental, in the process of choosing projects and designing, implementing and monitoring them. This may be measured in the many rounds of dialogue, which have decided the themes for the radio campaigns and broadcasts, addressing and prioritizing the needs of poor women.

It should also measure the enhancement of the practice of concerted decision-making. The participants have learned to take innumerable decisions on a regular basis, despite frequent conflicts of interest. This has occurred through a process of development through different stages. At first, UNESCO had to play a role of arbitration and mediation, but gradually they have come to negotiate among themselves. For example, they have negotiated the elaboration of the terms of reference for the audience research and choice of the agency to carry it out. More recently, they have developed the practice of concerted decision-making, which marks an important progress in their relations.


The role of the UNESCO staff, and now, increasingly the project participants themselves, may be seen in the tradition of the "peace promoter". This key role of education and training has been taken up by certain advocates in every great humanistic social movement as a personal calling and responsibility. These promoters play a very important role, including definition of the proposal, generation of the social movement, design and execution of specific projects, and institutionalization and interiorization of its guiding principles. The promoter (individual, group, organization or institution) goes through a preparation process and frequently undertakes leadership roles.

Any person or institution can become a peace promoter. The task is to internalize and institutionalize peace values, attitudes, knowledge, behaviours, skills and abilities. Thus, the profile of a peace culture promoter shares many aspects with that of other promoters, including the aspects of an educator, facilitator, mobilizer and communicator. Thus we may draw from the experiences of promoters in other related movements, for human rights, conflict resolution, popular education, community health care, etc.

At the same time, the peace promoter must have certain specific aspects of the profile, which enable him/her to contribute specifically to the movement for a culture of peace. These should be drawn from the history of promoters in the particular culture concerned. Hence, for example, in Latin America, aspects should draw from the profiles of those who have been promoters in movements for social justice. In some cases these have been "promoters of the word" from the different Christian churches, or "promoters of popular education" and even promoters from movements for provision of health care to those who have been excluded in the past.

We may imagine the formation of the peace promoter as a "grafting process" such as that used in cultivating plants. Each new paradigm, such as a culture of peace, doe not appear in a vacuum or without roots. Instead, it develops as the result of an historical process, in a particular society at a particular moment. In the grafting process, there is a native "pattern" with its qualities and defects, but which is adapted to the particular cultural terrain. At the appropriate time and place and using adequate technology, the new slip is joined to the graft which is already part of the culture, thus giving life to a new form which carries the best features of both.

The task of the peace promoter is primarily that of educator in the broad sense of the word, including formal, non-formal and informal education. His/her task is to facilitate the institutionalization and interiorization of the values, knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, skills and abilities of a culture of peace. This requires not only traditional skills of the educator, but also skills of innovation, flexibility, efficiency, and, above all, a firm professional and social commitment to a culture of peace.

What should be included in the training of a person who wishes to become a peace promoter? The following three elements may be mentioned:

1) Culture of peace contents: human rights, peaceful management and transformation of conflicts and differences, environmental protection, practices for a democratic society, sustainable human development, social justice.

2) Historical and cultural roots, as well as economic and social roots of the person's country and community, including its mythology and its recent experiences with peace and conflict;

3) The personal experiences, educational background, dreams for the future, that the person brings to the training process (in general, it is expected that the trainees will already have rich experiences and to a great extent they will teach each other).

The training and deployment of peace promoters, especially in human development project, promises to be the key method of expanding individual projects and national programmes and contributing to the development of a global culture of peace movement. Peace promoters who have gained experiences in one project or programme can contribute to the development of others. This may be especially effective in programmes of development aid where development workers can be trained as peace promoters, thus linking aid programmes to the prevention of violent conflicts and the promotion of sustainable peace.


A culture of peace cannot be sustained in one country if the rest of the world retains the culture of war and violence. Therefore, the task of each national culture of peace programme must includes its enlargement into a global movement for a culture of peace.

While national programmes are each different, depending upon particular historical circumstances, they all share certain features which together provide the defining characteristics of the global movement. In direct contrast with the culture of war, they promote the values, attitudes, behaviours an ways of life which are based on:

* non-violence and respect for all human rights;

* inter-cultural understanding, tolerance and solidarity;

* sharing and free flow of information;

* full participation and empowerment of women.

By sharing these features, which are in direct contrast with the culture of war, culture of peace initiatives help to provide a new behavioural basis which can sustain a world of peace. In this emergent world, history is no longer determined by a cycle of violence, whether structural or overt, but through a process of participation and concertation.

The proposal for a global culture of peace has the characteristics of a universal movement in the process of construction, a utopia which is both viable and historically necessary. It has been conceived under specific historical conditions, in which there is a new opportunity for peace and in which there is a strong impulse for the construction of a new humanism. Like other political and cultural movements, this proposal has its sources, advances, retreats, correlations of forces and social actors. It should be understood in the context of a society, which is engaged in a permanent search for its perfectibility.

In analysing this task, we may examine another global movement, which has preceded and is complementary to a culture of peace - the global ecological movement. Like the movements for human development, for women's equality, and the new generations of human rights, these movements are humanistic proposals, centred on the human being, emphasizing that we are all part of one family in the modern world.

Roughly speaking the global ecological movement has developed through the following stages:

1) A new paradigm is proposed which opposes the current paradigm regarding the society-nature relationship exposing it to be not viable and undesirable. The proposal is open to the participation to various sectors, so long as they share the same basic principles;

2) Promoters of the paradigm are able to achieve the adhesion of certain significant sectors within national and/or world society.

3) The initial adherents promote projects and actions through which the proposal becomes concrete, which leads to progress in the conceptual, strategic and tactical aspects of the proposal.

4) The scope of the proposal and its adherents grow and it becomes a national, regional and, later, worldwide movement.

5) The proposal becomes more institutionalized as organizations, associations, forums, agreements, and even laws emerge (UNCED Summit at Rio on the Environment and Development).

6) The proposal becomes more precise in its conception in terms of specific objectives, which can be measured in terms of quantitative and qualitative indicators and limitations. The analysis of successes and failures makes possible its continuous refinement.

7) The proposal becomes internalized in the daily life of people, until it becomes a benchmark of a great majority of societies. At this point, there is also a negative tendency for the concept and its practices to become inflated and lose the necessary demand for changes in attitude and practice, as has happened earlier, for example, with the concept of democracy.

The paradigm of the culture of peace, since it was first conceived at the Yamoussoukro International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men in 1989 and developed at UNESCO in 1992/1993, has now been taken up by a wide range of adherents around the world. These include individuals and organizations, non-governmental, governmental and inter-governmental. For details, the reader is referred to the 1995 monograph, UNESCO and a Culture of Peace: Promoting a Global Movement.
As the culture of peace develops it will need global indicators, just as indicators are needed for national culture of peace programmes. These may include:

* measures of respect for all human rights;

* measures of democratic participation in social decision-making;

* measures of inter-cultural understanding, tolerance and solidarity;

* measures of the sharing and free flow of information;

* indicators of the participation and self-empowerment of women;

* indicators of the manufacture and trade in weapons of all types;

* characteristics of mass media productions to determine their contribution to the values, attitudes and practices of a culture of peace;

* analysis of national and international economic transactions and agreements to determine their contribution to economic justice and equality of distribution of goods and information.

As described above, a key element in the development of a global culture of peace movement is the training and international exchange of peace promoters, especially in the context of human development programmes. In this way the experience gained in one national programme can be exchanged with others and the emergent general principles and priorities can be combined with (or "grafted onto") the specific challenges and peacemaking traditions of other countries and regions.

Not only development workers, but also the administrators and decision-makers of donor programmes should be involved in the process of using development aid to prevent violent conflict and build a culture of peace. In this way, donors could be increasingly involved in every step of the process in culture of peace programmes, taking part not only in the funding, but also in the planning of programmes and in their evaluation.


Although a formal evaluation has yet to be made, preliminary evidence indicates that the process of a culture of peace is working in the case of El Salvador: transforming conflict into cooperation by engaging those previously in violent conflict in the joint planning and implementation of human development projects of benefit to all. The programme is able to function because of the strong will to build peace on the part of both the government and the non-governmental actors. Without this will, it would not be possible to proceed.

In general, the El Salvador Culture of Peace Programme has developed both a set of guidelines accepted by all parties to the previous violent conflict, and institutionalized these guidelines in a National Coordination Council and its Executive Committee which ensure that they are put into practice.

In particular, the guidelines are being followed in the implementation of project 507/ELS/01, the production of daily radio broadcasts and non-formal education campaigns for the most needy and neglected women in the country. In the course of the working out of this project, during the period from the summer of 1994 to the present (spring of 1996) the participants, representing the government, community radio stations and non-governmental organizations including those associated with the FMLN, have internalized the basic principles and guidelines of a culture of peace. While at first they distrusted each other to the point that UNESCO had to play the role of arbitrator and mediator, they have since learned to negotiate and arrived at the point of regular concerted decision-making.

Daily radio broadcasts are now being produced which reflect the fruits of this process of dialogue, participation and concertation and which up until now have been well-produced and well-received despite time pressures and the demanding schedules of radio broadcasting. These broadcasts are carried by 24 radio stations around the country, as well as in marketplaces, and they are accompanied by the work of 64 correspondents in the various communities who monitor the broadcasts and provide information from their communities to the technical team that creates the programmes. This technical team, also, is made up of representatives of the government, the NGO's and the radio stations and carries out its own process of transforming conflict into cooperation during the course of its work.

In the course of development of the El Salvador Programme, and especially the project of radio and non-formal education campaigns for poor women, general principles and priorities have emerged which may be applicable for national culture of peace programmes in general. These are described here in terms of strategy, programme sustainability, culture of peace indicators and evaluation and the training and tasks of the peace promoter. It is also suggested that donors should become more involved in the process, not only in technical but also in human terms, so that they develop an understanding of and commitment to peace-building.

The vision of a culture of peace extends beyond that of a single national culture of peace programme and embraces the development of a global culture of peace movement that shares values and characteristics with other social movements such as those for human development and social justice, women's equality and preservation of the global environment.

In the development of a global movement for a culture of peace, one of the important questions will be whether the general principles and priorities that have emerged in the El Salvador Programme can be replicated and further developed in other societies, both in Central America and in other regions of the world. National Culture of Peace Programmes are underway in Mozambique, Burundi and Philippines (UNESCO, 1995).

The extension of results from one project to another and from one national programme to another may be greatly facilitated by the systematic training and international exchange of peace promoters, as discussed above on the basis of the Salvadorian experience.

Like the other social movements mentioned, the movement for a culture of peace grows by the addition of new adherents, both individual and organizations, to its basic paradigm. Thus, for example, while the National Culture of Peace Programmes in El Salvador, Mozambique and Burundi were established through the actions of UNESCO which established permanent offices in the country concerned, the national programme in the Philippines was established independently by the country concerned. UNESCO has been requested to help launch new programmes by many other countries and new initiatives are underway in several regions.

The culture of peace, initiated by UNESCO, has now been taken up by many non-governmental organizations, governmental bodies and inter-governmental organizations including other agencies of the United Nations. United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, speaking to the Global Diversity Conference in Australia in 1995, praised the Culture of Peace Programme in El Salvador and stated that "a truly global culture of peace - based on mutual respect and creative exchange...is at the heart of the great historical enterprise that is the United Nations."


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