Dr. Federico Mayor was born in Barcelona (Spain). He holds a Ph. D. in Pharmacy and has been Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of Granada (1963-1973) and Autonomous University of Madrid (1973-2004). He has been Advisor to the President of the Spanish Government (1977-78), Minister of Education and Science (1981-1982), and Member of the European Parliament (1987).
In 1987, Dr. Mayor was elected Director General of UNESCO, and was re-elected for a second term in 1993. As head of UNESCO (until 1999), he created the Culture of Peace Program, which gave new momentum to the Organization’s mission “to build the bastions of peace in the minds of men.” On 13 September 1999, the United Nations General Assembly approved the Declaration and Action Plan for a Culture of Peace, which constitutes, from a conceptual and practical standpoint, Dr. Mayor’s greatest aspiration.
With the Culture of Peace Foundation (Fundación Cultura de Paz), which he founded in Madrid in March 2000, Dr. Federico Mayor continues with the work he started as Director General of UNESCO: to promote, in every area of human life, the transition from a culture of violence and imposition to one of peace and tolerance.
In December 2002, the Danish Presidency of the European Union named Dr. Mayor chairman of the European Research Council Expert Group (ERCEG) for the “knowledge-based economy.” In October 2005, he was designated by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as Co-President of the High-Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations (2005-2007).
In January 2007, Dr. Mayor was appointed President of the “Initiative for Science in Europe” (ISE). He has served as chairman of the board of directors of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency since June 2008. In October 2010, he was appointed President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty.
In addition to his numerous scientific publications, Dr. Federico Mayor has published several books of poetry: A contraviento (1985); Aguafuertes (1991); El fuego y la esperanza (1996); Terral (1997); Alzaré mi voz (2007); and En pie de paz (2008), and books of essays, including: Un mundo nuevo (in English, The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making) (1999); Los nudos gordianos (1999); Mañana siempre es tarde (1987); La nueva página (1994); Memoria del futuro (1994); La paix demain? (1995); Science and Power (1995); UNESCO: un idéal en action (1996); La palabra y la espada (2002); La fuerza de la palabra (2005); Diálogo ibérico en el marco europeo y mundial, with the former President of Portugal Mr. Mario Soares (2006); Enfermedades metabólicas (2006, ed.); Tiempo de acción(2008); and Delito de silencio (2011).
Dr. Mayor’s designation as the Founding Chair of The Assembly was formalized on 30 May 2014, with the signing, by Dr. Mayor and Dr. Ayala, of the Culture of Peace Foundation – PANGEA WORLD Partnership Agreement.