NEW YORK – 09-26-2018 ( — Partnership with Fundacion Ganfer builds on the promise of each organization to improve conditions for children,families and communities via interpersonal peace-building and conflict resolution

Operation Respect, the global nonprofit organization committed to interpersonal, intercommunal and international channels to positive social learning, has partnered with Mexico-based Fundacion Ganfer to advance peace-building and conflict-resolution techniques in the country it was announced today at the United Nations in celebration of International Day of Peace.

“United Voices of Peace,” staged in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Media Zone, featured live webcast interviews, panels and performances with world leaders, delegates and artists.The SDG Media Zone is a platform for content creators, influencers, media and bloggers to communicate calls-to-action and for humanity to engage the Sustainable Development Goals. Previous SDG Media Zone-aligned events have achieved outreach with impressions surpassing 200 million. 

Operation Respect was represented in the Well-being on the Path to Peace panel, featuring UNICEF’s Shannon O’Shea and moderated by Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories and former CNN senior social media reporter.Other topics included Intergenerational Voices Unite led by former President of Ireland and High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson and Travelling Peace with leadership from Hostelling International and Impact Travel Alliance.

Special performances included the New York-based children of the Baja Musical Arts Initiative led by Monica Abrego, and songwriting artist Amy Lott who sang a version of her composition “Hope” backed by the BMAI choir.Lott participated as an advocate for MusicUnits, an alliance of music therapy programs treating chronically ill, injured and traumatized children.Specifically selected for its unifying sense to inspire, attendees united their voices for “What a Wonderful World.”

In alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 16, committed to Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Operation Respect recognized the impact of the SDGs on every aspect of a child’s well-being.The Mexico partnership is a bridge to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for every child to thrive and be protected from violence and exploitation, in safe and clean environments with a fair chance in life.Operation Respect and Fundacion Ganfer pledged to work jointly as strategic partners to create positive, safe and bully-free environments for vulnerable youth and at-risk communities in Mexico via the program Pasos Para la Paz (Steps for Peace). 

“We are very excited with our relationship and partnership with Operation Respect,” said Fundacion Ganfer Director of Prevention Programs Ana Gandara.“We are convinced that through our programs we are changing lives in a positive way.”

“In the spirit of the original creation of the United Nations, in which I rejoiced at the age of 11, I co-founded Operation Respect some 18 years ago,” said Peter Yarrow of folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, and president emeritus of Operation Respect.“We strongly believe that, as the world becomes more deeply interconnected, it is ever more important to create partnerships with other countries to educate children to become life-long humanitarians and peace builders, starting at the earliest of ages.This new partnership, we hope, will soon allow us to partner with many other countries in Central and South America.”

“The timing could not be more ideal for us to join hands, hearts and voices in the promotion of peace, joy and respect,” said Operation Respect Executive Director John McKenna.McKenna was recently appointed to the position bringing two decades of international nonprofit management leadership to the cause, most directly in the multimedia and youth advocacy space.“We feel compelled to ask the question, to one another and ourselves, who is our neighbor?The answer is both obvious and profound.The United States and Mexico are neighbors, so let our mutual love and common humanity serve the larger purpose, especially for the children,” McKenna said.

Operation Respect’s anti-bullying Don’t Laugh at Me program, disseminated freely to educators, has been translated into Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Cantonese and Ukrainian.It has been endorsed and supported by U.S. consulates in Hong Kong and Jerusalem (63 percent of school counselors in Israel report utilization of the program) and U.S. embassies in Israel, Japan, Ukraine and Jordan, and the program has been implemented through alliances in South Africa, Croatia, Canada and Bermuda.Mexico is its most recent partnership. 

“When the desire to serve, the willingness to help and the love towards others come together, extraordinary things happen,” said Fundacion Ganfer Founder Marcela Fernandez de Ganfer. 


About Operation Respect

Operation Respect is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing children and youth educational training and experiences that can help them become compassionate, respectful, ethical and civically engaged adults.To help create and sustain positive school climates, Operation Respect incorporates Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curricula blended with community-building music in its free Don’t Laugh at Me program.Over the past two decades an estimated 22,000 schools have utilized the program throughout America and the world.Operation Respect’s tools help to foster peace, acceptance and harmony amongst children and youth, as well as adults who inform and influence their lives.Founded in 1999 by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, and Dr. Charlotte Frank, senior advisor at McGraw-Hill Education, Operation Respect’s inspiring music, social and emotional learning curricula and multicultural videos teach students to resolve conflict peacefully, celebrate diversity and engage with each other in a spirit of caring, compassion and cooperation.Over 200,000 copies of the Don’t Laugh at Me program have been disseminated to educators throughout the United States and internationally, with over 50,000 educators participating in professional development workshops worldwide.Since its inception, over a half-million educators, educational leaders, parents, students, policy makers and community members have attended presentations by Peter Yarrow and other Operation Respect leaders.Over 1,000 New York City schools have sent teams of educators to participate in workshops, and since 2005 Operation Respect has partnered with the NYC DOE to provide anti-bias Respect for All training for teams of educators from all elementary, middle and high schools in New York City. Operation Respect formed United Voices for Education, a coalition of 42 educational organizations dedicated to advocating for the education of the whole child.Operation Respect co-produced A Tribute to the Teachers of America and, in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, produced Concert for Newtown to help bring strength and unity to the brave and grieving community of Newtown as well as the nation.Both programs have aired on PBS throughout the United States.


About Fundacion Ganfer

Fundación Ganfer was born out of the concern of Mrs. Marcela Fernández de Gándara to help a community in need and full of social problems, motivated by a deep and sincere desire to protect the needy.The first Ganfer Foundation program, One Step On Time, became a life and family project that would help to create generations of men and women committed to social welfare.Its Pasos Para la Paz program is dedicated to detecting, preventing and eradicating bullying.


About PeaceDay365

PeaceDay365 is a bridge between NGOs, corporations, schools, individuals and the United Nations to bring awareness of Peace Day celebrated annually on September 21, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global citizenship education. Working with UN departments and inter-departmental agencies, PeaceDay365 brings strategic partnerships combined with local and global SDG and global citizenship education efforts while building on a prominent youth-led platform that includes highlighting innovation, culture and artistic achievements of member states.

In 2018, PeaceDay365 is proud to be in partnership with The Elders.Nelson Mandela launched The Elders on July 18, 2007, his 89th birthday. Convening the group of independent global leaders, he mandated them to speak truth to power, raise the voices of the voiceless and offer hope where there is despair.  When Nelson Mandela founded The Elders, he told the group to listen to the marginalized – especially young people.  Ever since, The Elders have sought to empower young people and promote intergenerational dialogue across different areas of The Elders’ work. The Elders are eager to share experiences with the younger generation, recognizing there is much to learn from them.Thus, The Elders maintain we must create the space for youth to share their aspirations and ideas.


For more information, please contact:

Kelly Egan, PeaceDay365, [email protected] 

John McKenna, Operation Respect, [email protected] 

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Operation Respect
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