Spain: Toledo seeks to become an international reference for the “culture of peace”


An article published by El Diario (translated by CPNN)

A reference for tolerance and dialogue to eradicate violence in society: This is the objective that the Toledo City Council has proposed in the organization of the First International Forum of Migrations and Citizen Coexistence ‘Toledo Culture of Peace’. The Forum will be held on September 5, 6 and 7 at the Palacio de Congresos in the city of Toledo.

According to the Councilor for Youth, Cooperation and Education for Development, Diego Mejías, this theme should become a permanent vocation of the city. This has been advanced in a press conference with the president of COPRODELI, Meik Garay; the spokesperson for the 365 + 1 campaign, Esmeralda Pérez, and the provincial secretary of CCOO, José Luis Arroyo.

In the organization of this international event, the City Council has worked hand in hand with the local Cooperation Council, the NGOs of the city, the 365 + 1 Solidarity campaign and many other organizations, as well as the promotion of the Voix Vives Poetry Festival and the newspaper Castilla-La Mancha as ‘media partner’. According to councilor Mejías, they want to create “a space for collective reflection that turns Toledo into a benchmark of work in the pursuit of peace, social justice and interculturality.”

During the three days of the Forum there will be plenary sessions, debates, reflections, exhibitions and activities that fight against different forms of violence suffered by disadvantaged groups. “A debate and reflection that does not remain within these walls. We want it to be transferred to society as a whole, through the media, social networks and participating organizations to achieve an awareness effect that promotes changes and transformations in society, and to combat dehumanization and promote human rights,” said Mejías.

The Forum will recognize people and organizations for their solidarity efforts with the Toledo Culture of Peace Award. Its first edition will recognize the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, for her work in favor of “coexistence and peace”; the television presenter Jesús Vázquez, for his work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Father Ángel, for his well-known solidary work in several areas; the newspaper Castilla-La Mancha, for its commitment to social justice and for making visible realities related to tolerance and non-violence; the Union of Iberoamerican Capital Cities (UCCI), for promoting neighborhood rights and citizen participation; and the Book-Tavern El Internacional de Toledo, for making interculturality a reality and being a meeting space always open to all activities that foster a culture of solidarity of peace and critical reflection.

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Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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Mejías has indicated that during these days there will be debates, reflections, exhibitions and cultural activities to raise awareness about the different forms of violence suffered by the most disadvantaged groups. The mayor stressed that during the plenary sessions, the congress will have three moderators of media Toledo as the journalist of El Diario Alicia Avilés; the journalist of La Tribuna Marta García and the journalist of SER Toledo Juncal Roldán.

In addition, according to Garay, the forum will have academic, cultural, awareness and participation spaces; as well as artists such as Carlos Ávila or Manuel Maestro, as well as the collaboration of Voix Vives or the ETR Theater Company. Diego Mejías has assured that, to date, the 1st International Forum on Migrations and Citizen Coexistence ‘Toledo Culture of Peace’, has around 200 entries, which can be done through social networks or on the website of the City of Toledo.

For its part, the provincial secretary of CCOO Toledo, José Luis Arroyo, stressed that the phenomenon of migration “shoulc be considered as an opportunity that society has, “as social groups and municipalities are those who are taking charge of coexistence that so enriches society “.

A program “very well worked out”

The programming on September 5 will start at 11.15 with a plenary session in the Toledo Room of the Palace of Congress in which Andres Amayuelas, Jira Bulahi, Hector Ramos and Juan Miguel Ortega Terol will participate. From 2:30 p.m. there will be cultural activities in the multipurpose space Zocodover. At 5:00 pm it will be the turn of an experience table in the Toledo Room with the participation of Rosa López Sánchez, Braulio Freyre and José Taboada. The program of this first day will be closed with cultural activities such as the concert of Manuel Maestro or that of Carlos Ávila and his guitarist Ariel Acevedo, starting at 20:45.

On September 6, the day will begin, at 10.00 am in the Toledo Room, with a plenary session in which Fernando Perez del Olmo, Alfonso Iglesias or Khadija Afkir will participate. This activity will give way, at 12.15, to an experience table with Amparo Herreros, Helia del Rosario, Vanesa Lopez, Nacho Peinado, Nicolás Ost, Alicia Es Martínez Juan or José Antonio Orihuela.

Throughout the day there will be workshops and cultural activities. An experience table with Carolina Elías and Jaldía Abubakra will be held from 4:30 p.m. While at 18.10, it will be the turn of a new plenary session with the participation of Manuela Mesa, Idoia Urgarte or Pilar Gutiérrez.

As of 20.20 there will be cultural activities in the Zocodover multipurpose space, including the screening of the film ‘Mujeres extranjeros’ or the flamenco concert by Diego Mejías and Juan Ignacio González. Finally, the 7th will begin with a plenary session, at 10:00 am, with the participation of José Manuel Álamo, Beatriz Plaza, Antonio Zurita or Alejandro Alder. After 12.15 hours, an experience table will be opened with Ricardo Gayol and Pablo Martínez.

During the afternoon of this day there will be workshops and cultural activities, among which the presentation of the book ‘Territories in democracy’ or the Voix Vives recital with Ágel Calle, Antonio Orihuela, Eddi and Alicia Es. Martínez stand out. From 8:00 pm there will be the closing ceremony where there will be an artistic intervention of the company ETR, the delivery of the ‘Toledo Culture of Peace’ awards, a cocktail and the show ‘Luz Toledo’.