Our school campaigns are our strongest ally: Joaquin Antuna, founder of Peace and Cooperation
Joaquin Antuna is the founder of Peace and Cooperation, a Spanish NGO which was nominated as ‘peace messenger’ by the United Nations in 1986. Antuna is of very firm opinion that in order to have an incisive impact on the community we live in, we need to start from children, as they are those who would inherit this world and therefore need to understand how to handle it. Read more:
'Complete application of the SDGs is non-negotiable' emphasized Mr. Joaquin Antuna, who founded Peace and Cooperation in 1982. He is from Asturias, but is based in Madrid, where he graduated in Law at the Complutense University of Madrid, followed by a Political Science Degree by the Institute of Political Science of Paris. He is recipient of the 'Peace and Security Award' in 2006 and the 'Global Compassion Award' in 2009, awarded by Wango and Airlines Ambassador – the latter at the United Nations.
In an interaction with Devdiscourse for it's initiative Devdiscourse Connect, he shares the achievements and future plans of the 'Peace and Cooperation' and also his views on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up by the United Nations for the year 2030.
What are the main areas of operation of your organization?
Our Foundation pursues the mission of spreading values such as peace, tolerance and respect. We evaluated that, in order to have an incisive impact on the community we live in, we had to start from the children, as they are those who will inherit this world and therefore need to understand how to handle it. We focus on education and diffusion of positive values, allowing the creativity and the innocence of children to express their perspective on matters which are normally "a grown-up thing". The easiest way to interiorise a concept is not a forced learning of it, but a spontaneous understanding since the earlier years: could you imagine another effective way of awakening children's interest in human rights or cooperation? Still, we do think about the grown-ups as well. We are already into our II United Nations Forum, a series of conferences where important figures, such as ambassadors and experts, have expressed their visions on nowadays matters.
How, according to you, your organization is contributing to achieving any one or more SDGs?
Honestly, we do not focus on a single SDG: we prefer to contribute in a more general and comprehensive way. Our school campaigns are our strongest ally, as not only they actually involve normally neglected sectors of the civil society, apparently not in touch with the minds behind the creation of the SDGs, while actually fundamental to seize our goals. The school campaign 2019 has just ended, it was a great opportunity to work with CTBTO, and the next one will be in cooperation with OSCE. I think the keyword in all our projects is "future": to have a future for our planet, complete application of the SDGs is non-negotiable.
What are the recent initiatives your organization has made in line to the SDGs?
One of the initiatives we are most proud of is our partnership with Jeffrey Sachs. He is the great mind behind the SDGs, and it is an honour for us to be his correspondents in Spain. We met him recently, when he was in Madrid for the series of conferences "Peace with No Borders", where he gave the inaugural speech and a lecture during the panel of Disarmament and Non-Violence. It is our duty and mission to spread the words of this fantastic orator, in order to make people know. Ignorance needs to be eradicated, and no more excuses will be accepted for actions disrespecting our planet and those living here with us.
What is your strategy for further expansion of your organization at national, international/global level?
Our mission is not fame. An expansion is instrumental, but just to have more people and organisations sharing our values and living according to them. We do have an International Council composed by brilliant and creative individuals, but what makes me always proud is when people who have collaborated with us offer themselves spontaneously to represent our foundation or to carry on our ideals. It really means that we can make a difference.
Where do you want to see your organization by 2030?
I would like to see it more and more effective, and at the same time less and less necessary. I hope we'll live in the world the SDGs depict. I hope we still have the strength to hold on and build that world, and I hope Peace and Cooperation will be there when that happens.
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