Book review: Culture of Peace, A Utopia that is Possible


A book review by Ericka Montaño Garfias in La Jornada (translated by CPNN)

Although violence has become a household word and the word peace is only an isolated reference in the media, since war is an invention of the human being, then we are capable of inventing a culture of peace. This is proposed by the American essayist David Adams in his book Culture of Peace: a Utopia that is Possible, published in Spanish by the Herder publishing house.

From left to right: Roberto Mercadillo, Institute of Neurobiology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, editor and translator of the book; Norman Bardavid, Director of Culture and Arts of Comnapaz Mexico; David Adams, author of the book; Arturo Vallejo Casanova, Rector of the Technological University of Corregidora; and Hiram Valdez, President of the National Peace Commission of Comnapaz Mexico

Culture of Peace: a possible utopia brings together three books into a single volume: The History of the Culture of War, World Peace through the Town hall: A Strategy for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace; and I Have Seen the Promised Land: A Utopian Novella.

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( Click here for the original version in Spanish.)

Question for this article:

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

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Adams, also a neurobiologist, is coordinator of Culture of Peace News Network ( and he participated in several programs and declarations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in favor of peace such as the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace as well as the International Year for the Culture of Peace that resulted in the 2000 Manifesto with 75 million signatories worldwide promising to promote a culture of peace in everyday life.

David Adams’s approach is that if humans invented war and violence, then humans are able to invent and build peace.

According to the editor and translator, Roberto Emmanuele Mercadillo: “This work pursues a simple and basic idea: if war and violence are a creation, a cerebral and cultural construction, man can also invent and build peace in a rational and intentional way, even if it is necessary to internalize the concept of ‘other’ based on equality. The adage ‘I am the other’ should be the goal of family, school and institutional teaching to enhance the human right to peace, proposed by Unesco in 1997.”

Going beyond the responsibility of each individual, Adams also analyzes the role of civil society in creating and practicing a culture of peace through movements for peace and disarmament, ecology, human rights, democracy, women’s equality, and the free flow of information, in addition to raising the role of local governments.

Although the novel tells of a utopia, Adams is not a dreamer, or at least not entirely: he knows that the culture of peace should be understood as a process, in the original sense of the word culture. We will not just wake up one morning and discover that we have constructed a culture of peace.

(Editor’s note: The book is available from Herder in Mexico, from Herder in Spain and from Amazon in Spain.)