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North San Salvador, seen from Santa Elena neighborhood. Photo: Xtremesv via CC BY-SA 4.0.

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed,” wrote the poet Archibald MacLeish for the preamble of UNESCO’s constitution in 1945. Having experienced two world wars in less than a generation, its member nations knew well that political agreements alone are not enough to build a lasting peace. For peace to be truly established, we must forge a moral and intellectual unity in our thinking toward each other.
In El Salvador, a country of 6.5 million, its Defense Ministry estimates that more than 500,000 Salvadorans are involved with gangs—including relatives and children of gang members who have been …

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