Former UNESCO Chief Federico Mayor Asks Convocation Audience to “Create Culture of Peace”

Christian Arthur, Communications Correspondent | September 15, 2014
Former UNESCO chief Federico Mayor was the guest speaker at convocation.

Former UNESCO chief Federico Mayor was the guest speaker at convocation.
Image by: Harry Brett

Federico Mayor, an international peace activist and the former head of the United Nations’ cultural organization, delivered the keynote address at UMass Boston's 2014 convocation ceremony on September 11.

“We the people must build peace instead of preparing war, and resolve to save the succeeding generations,” said Mayor, who led the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1987 to 1999. “This is exactly the opposite of what is happening.”

Mayor’s speech, titled “Creating a Culture of Peace,” called for increased presence of women in leadership roles and greater communication between peoples and nations.

Throughout history, men have held a greater share of authority, Mayor said, and their approach has been “to utilize the muscle, to utilize the force, to utilize military strength.” But “the cornerstone of humanity is the women,” he said.

Gaps in gender equality are shrinking worldwide, Mayor said, and “on the horizon men and women starting a new era, together.”

Young people also have a more powerful voice than in the past, Mayor said, thanks to the Internet and social media.

“For the first time in history, you are not invisible,” he said.

Mayor has published more than 170 articles on education, development, science, and technology. He has written several books, including volumes of poetry. After his tenure at UNESCO, Mayor created the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, a Madrid-based organization that “seeks to contribute to building and consolidating the culture of peace through reflection, research, education and on-the-spot action.”

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

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