1995 was defined as the Year of Tolerance by the United Nations. The following
statement was made by Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, in New York, in
"UNESCO's main task, building "the defenses of peace" in the
minds of men, women and children has never been easy. This year we are trying to reach the
world with a message that may at first seem troubling: we must act now that to ensure the
viability of mixed societies, because every society in the world today is diverse in its
own way, and not one of them is beyond the danger posed by the infernal cycle of
intolerance and violence.
Fighting intolerance takes both state action and individual responsibility. Governments
must adhere to the international standards for human rights, must ban and punish hate
crimes and discrimination against all vulnerable groups, must ensure equal access to
justice and equal opportunity for all. Individuals must become tolerance teachers within
their own families and communities. We must get to know our neighbors and the cultures and
the religions that surround us in order to achieve an appreciation for diversity.
Education for tolerance is the best investment we can make in our own future security.
The wealth of human hope are within each child. Through lifelong Education For All
we can forge new attitudes within each human being - young or old. What matters in the end
is not the world we will leave to our children, but the children we will leave to the
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