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UNESCO Hosts Peace-Building Forum for NGOS in Querétaro

By Tom Schneider

The Sixth International Forum of NGOs in Official Partnership with UNESCO was held in the city of Querétaro in early November. This year’s topic, “From Promoting to Building Peace with NGOs,” was selected to highlight the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which calls for peace, justice, and strong institutions. The aim of the conference was to gather interested groups and individuals to share their peace initiatives in the areas of education, youth engagement, and culture and sports.

More than 30 nongovernmental organizations from around the world that are members of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, presented their projects to more than 500 audience members, who included a substantial number of local Mexican youth.

Rotary International’s representative to UNESCO, Cyril Noirtin, invited Rotary Peace Fellow alumni living in Mexico to attend the conference to help promote the fellowship. Wendy Coulson, Rotary Peace Fellow graduate nominated by the Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende – Midday Club, attended. Joining her from the same club was Rotarian Tom Schneider.

Edwin Futa, Rotary’s past general secretary, current budget chairman, and head of Rotary’s Representative Network, spoke on how higher education can take action for peace. He said that education is the vaccine for violence. He called education the “magic bullet” and said that, “Education is the best tool we have right now to achieve peace.” The audience roared with agreement.

Other topics included global citizenship education, education for sustainable development for peace, and engagement of youth for peace.

Attendees from every habitable continent were unanimously content with the forum. One of the messages that thrilled youth in attendance was that women have the strength to change their own fates. Another said, “We will go back to our countries to replicate these peaceful actions, and they will go to a higher level.”

For more information, contact and Tom Schneider at


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