The International Association of Educating Cities (IAEC) was founded in 1990 in Barcelona, Spain; it now has three hundred signatory cities, a growing number largely in Europe, South America and Africa. The IAEC conference is in Rosario, Argentina, the Educating Cities model city and the regional center for the pilot league of cities called Educating Cities, with eighty-five cities as signatories.
The community of Educating Cities, as projected, will continue to meet in strategic dialogue with the mayors of Mercociudades, which is the association of mayors in countries within the South American Common Market. It aspires to ensure active citizen participation and continuing education for all citizens. The network aims to help its member cities become sites for the creation of sustainable peace, through principles of nonviolence, economic justice, a participatory budget formation and full transparency.
The government and NGO sponsors include the Rosario city government, which gives the Educating Cities project its city hall offices. In 2003, the work in Rosario within the Educating Cities project won the Outstanding Civic Work award from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which opens the door to other forms of UN sponsorship. The project is mainly a grassroots project that aims to engage, as participants, all the people who live in the cities. Therefore, the main justification for the UNDP's gifting of the prize to Rosario was the fact of Rosario's engaging neighborhood groups and citizens in participatory democracy.
The authors main work is to facilitate seminars about evaluation of work in peace action for facilitators from the cities who come to Rosario for this purpose. Along with Howard Richards, author of Understanding the Global Economy, the other planners, advisers and facilitators of the peace education effort for the cities are: Magnus Haavelsrud of the University of Trondheim, Alicia Cabezudo of University of Rosario and Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the Argentine winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who holds a chair in Peace Studies at University of Buenos Aires.
A three-week conference from January 10, 2004, to reconvene periodically, toured to several of the regional educating cities. Its seminars and training within the social justice issues will empower participatory democracy for human rights and a culture of peace. Project documents, which state the goals in detail, starting with the resolution passed by the mayors at their meeting in Rosario in April 2003, are available at Educating Cities.