An international conference was held in Athens and in Delphi, in June 2000, within the framework of the UNESCO program for Peace culture and on the occasion of the proclamation of 2000, by the UN, as an International Year for Peace culture and non violence. The conference was entitled: “Meeting of Athens-Delphi for Children and Peace” and was organized by the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” in cooperation with the Peace International Bureau, under the auspices of UNESCO.
At her opening speech President of the Foundation, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, set the two main axes of the conference: “To ensure peace, we must build a Peace culture. And in order to do so, we must start from the very beginning, that is to say the man. Therefore, we must try to form the mentalities that prove to be stronger than the laws. What is the basis upon which we must act? First of all, the family. Because that is where the concepts of democracy, tolerance and solidarity are established. And what are the tools that we will use? The main tool is Education that may form characters and determine life attitudes”.
At the opening of the congress those who were present and addressed the audience were: the Minister of National Education and Religion, Mr. Petros Efthymiou, the Minister of Culture, Mr. Theodoros Pagalos, the Mayor of Athens, Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Permanent Representative of Greece to UNESCO, Ambassador Vassilis Vassilikos, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs. Marisa Berenson and the famous Greek composer, Mr. Mikis Theodorakis.
The opening ceremony closed with Music for Peace by the famous Argentinean pianist, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Foundation “Musique Esperance”, Mr. Miguel Angel Estrella.
Additionally, many personalities from all over the world supported the conference with written messages and wishes such as the following: His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, His Grace the Jerusalem Patriarch Diodoros I, the
President of the Foundation “Palestine Avenir” Mrs. Suha Arafat, the member of the European Parliament Mrs. Mary Banotti, the Cypriot Deputy, Mrs. Androula Vassiliou, the UNICEF Director-General, Mrs. Carol Bellamy, the First Lady of the USA, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the Founder and President of the “Mentoring U.S.A.” Mrs. Matilda Raffa Cuomo, the President of the “Fondation pour l’Enfance”, Mrs. Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing, the former President of the European Commission, Mr. Jacques Delors, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the founder of “Robert F. Kennedy Memorial”, Mrs. Ethel Kennedy, the President of “Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation” and the honorary President of “Special Olympics International”, Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the President of the Foundation “France-Liberte”, Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Sir Peter Ustinov, the Ambassador of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mrs. Jody Williams as well as the Nobel Prize winners, Christian de Duve, Frederik de Klerk, Shimon Peres, Ilya Prigogine, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Elie Wiesel.
During the conference, the speakers defined the content and the coordinates of Peace and Non-Violence Culture and exchanged views about the process through which, the peace principles will be incorporated to our daily life starting from early childhood. The participants presented methods and practices about how the family and school can contribute to Peace consolidation and how women’s and children’s role can become more substantial.
The speakers put emphasis on the decisive role of art, history, tradition, sports, science and technology in the peace and non-violence education and the establishment of new life attitudes, models and values.
At their last meeting that was held to European Cultural Center of Delphi, the experts under the chairmanship of the President of the University of Europe, Rector Helen Ahrweiler, drew up the Declaration of Delphi for the Children and Peace. The goal of this Declaration is to raise awareness about the responsibility that everyone has vis a vis the children and peace, consolidate the commitment of the countries to provide the conditions required for the development of Peace culture and Non-Violence and the commitment of every citizen to adopt the Peace culture and Non-Violence in his/her daily life.
The text of the Declaration is the quintessence of three basic units:
the 2000 Manifest for Peace culture and Non Violence, which with the initiative of the UN and UNESCO, was drawn up by Nobel Peace Prize winners, is available all over the world and was signed by simple citizens and personalities,
the positions and views that were presented and analyzed during the congress
the written messages-proposals that were sent by Nobel Prize winners and distinguished personalities from all over the world.
The Declaration was drawn up by :
David Adams, Director of the UNESCO Committee for the International Year for Peace Culture.
Rector Helen Ahrweiler, Chairperson of the University of Europe
Marisa Berenson, actress and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Konstantinos Despotopoulos, Member of the Academy of Athens.
Miguel Angel Estella, pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Fredrik Heffermehl, Vice President of the International Peace Bureau.
Rodi Kratsa, member of the European Parliament
Javier Lobo, a thirteen year boy, member of the Colombian Children Movement for Peace
Prof. Federico Mayor, President of the Foundation of Peace Culture.
Ioanna Manganara, Ambassador – Consultant of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires on Human Rights Issues
Prof. Anastasios – Ioannis Metaxas, political scientist, President of the Committee for the elaboration of the New Law on Telecommunications
Pierre Marchand, President of the Foundation for Peace Nobel Laureates Appeal for Children
Evelyne Panato, educator and Director of the ‘House of Motion and Image’ in Paris (elaboration of artistic and cultural school projects)
Michalis Peristerakis, lawyer, President of the ‘Independent Movement for Peace’
Maria Barroso Soares, President of the Red Cross of Portugal
Maj-Britt Theorin, member of the European Parliament and President of the Committee of the European Parliament for women’s rights and equal opportunities.
Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the ‘Foundation for the Child and the Family’
Cora Weiss, President of the ‘Hague Appeal for Peace’.
The Declaration was also based on written messages that were sent by:
Suha Arafat, President of the Foundation “Palistine Avenir”
Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, Nobel Peace Prize
Mary Banotti, Member of the European Parliament.
Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States of America.
Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Founder and Chairperson “Mentoring USA”.
Prof. Christian. de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Shimon Peres, Nobel Peace Prize.
Anne-Aymone Giscard d’ Estaing, President of the “Fondation pour l’ Enfance”.
Frederik. W. de Klerk, Nobel Peace Prize.
Jacques Delors, Former President of the European Commission.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of the Francophonie, Former Secretary – General of the United Nations.
Ethel Kennedy, Founder of the “Robert F. Kennedy Memorial”
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Honorary President “Special Olympics International”.
Danielle Mitterrand, President of the Foundation “France – Libertes”
Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Maria Barroso Soares, President of the Red Cross of Portugal
HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize
Sir Peter Ustinov
Androula Vassiliou, Member of the Cypriot Parliament
Simone Veil, Former President of the European Parliament
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize
Jody Williams, Ambassador of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Nobel Prize Peace
The meeting closed with Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, who congratulated the participants for their significant work and expressed the wish that everyone will be conscious of the fact that:
“The only war that we may declare is the WAR AGAINST WAR”.