||Yamousoukro and Seville Statement||Page 2|
The culture of peace became the central theme of the resulting Conference, the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, in July 1989. Its final declaration called for the construction of "a new vision of peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men." The results of the Conference were then introduced into the documents of the UNESCO General Conference of November 1989: both the Declaration of Yamoussoukro with its culture of peace theme and the Seville Statement on Violence which provided a scientific underpinning that "the same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace." At this point the culture of peace was still little more than a slogan among many others at UNESCO.
left to right: Martin Ramirez, Paul Scott, Santiago Genoves, David Adams, Ben Ginsburg, Samir Ghosh, Robert Hinde, Jo Groebel, Ashis Nandy
The Seville Statement, which I had represented at Yamoussoukro, laid a foundation for the culture of peace by showing scientifically that war is based on cultural not biological factors. It was not by accident that its theme came from the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead or that the original idea for the Statement came from the anthropologist Santiago Genoves. While half of the scientists who drafted and signed the Statement were social scientists, the other half came from the biological sciences, including ethology, neurophysiology, animal behavior and genetics. They agreed that there is nothing yet known in biology that would make it impossible to abolish warfare. The brochure about the Seville Statement that I wrote for UNESCO in 1991 was subtitled "Preparing the ground for the constructing of peace."