Mayor Zaragoza is a Spanish politician, scholar and social change activist who
served as the Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization) from 1987 to 1999. Originally a professor of biochemistry
trained in pharmacology, Mayor entered the world of politics starting as the Spanish
undersecretary of Education and Science in 1974. He held various positions including
moving up to Minister of Education and Science in 1981. He also was elected to
the European Parliament.
1987 he was elected as Director-General of UNESCO, serving two six year terms.
Under his leadership, UNESCO focused on the theme of building a culture of peace,
and developed a Culture of Peace Programme that outlined a plan of action addressing
education for peace, human rights and democracy, ending poverty, cultural diversity,
and conflict prevention and resolution. Numerous international meetings and discussions
took place culminating in the United Nations adopting the Declaration and Programme
of Action on a Culture of Peace, and also declaring the decade of 2001-2010 as
the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
for the Children of the World as an opportunity to implement the plan of action.
1999. Federico Mayor returned to Spain and started the Foundation for a Culture
of Peace (Fundación Cultura de Paz) to continue his work for a culture of peace.
He also started Ubuntu, a forum of civil society networks from around the world,
which had its first meeting in Barcelona in 2002.