World Council for Curriculum and Instruction (WCCI)

Federico Mayor Zaragoza

Frederico Zaragoza

Federico Mayor Zaragoza was born in Barcelona in 1934. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1958). In 1963, he became a Professor of Biochemistry at the Facultad de Farmacia of the Universidad de Granada. In 1968, he became Rector of that institution, a job he held until 1972. The following year, he was named Professor in his specialty at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. In these years it started up the National Plan of Prevention of Mental Handicap, to avoid, by means of precocious diagnosis, diseases that can evolve with serious mental deterioration.

During his 12 years as head of UNESCO (1987–1999) Federico Mayor Zaragoza gave new life to the organization’s mission to “build a bastion of peace in the minds of all people”, putting the institution at the service of peace, tolerance, human rights and peaceful coexistence, working within the scope of its powers and remaining faithful to its original goals. Under Mayor’s guidance, UNESCO created the Culture of Peace Programme, whose objectives revolve around four main themes: education for peace; human rights and democracy; the fight against isolation and poverty; the defense of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; and conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace.

On 10 November 1998, the UN General Assembly declared the years 2001–2010, International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World and, on 13 September 1999, it adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which embodies Mayor’s greatest aspirations from both a conceptual and practical standpoint.

In 2000, Federico Mayor Zaragoza founded the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, serving as its President.

In 2002, Federico Mayor Zaragoza co-founded with Boutros Boutros Ghali, John Brademas, Edward J. Nell, Karim Errouaki and Alain Chanlat the Centre Humanism, Management & Globalization (HMG) at HEC-Montreal. The aim of HGM was to support projects and develop programs based on policies that would humanize the process of globalization across its many dimensions-economic, ecological, social, political, cultural and organizational. Responsibility for putting humanism into practice rests largely on the shoulders of our leaders and managers. They are the link between macroscopic, societal phenomena and everyday activities that, in contrast are resolutely microscopic in nature. The Mission of HGM was to link these two levels of concern. The approach was to present and disseminate management ideas and practices that are inspired by values and ethics that respect the principles of both universal and pluralist humanism. This is the only way to make a real contribution and create a true Culture of Peace.