Federico Mayor Zaragoza attended Complutense University of Madrid from 1950 until 1956 and received a Degree in Pharmacy. Later, he obtained a Ph.D. in pharmacy from the same university in 1958. He received both degrees with special distinction (Premio Extraordinario).
He has also received several honorary doctorates (Honoris Causa).
Mayor Zaragoza became a professor of biochemistry at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Granada in 1963, and in 1968 was elected rector of that university, a post he held until 1972. In 1973 he was an appointed professor in biochemistry at the Autonomous University of Madrid. In 1974 he co-founded the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Spanish High Council for Scientific Research.
Mayor Zaragoza was Under-Secretary of the Ministry for Education & Science from 1974 to 1975. Between 1974 and 1978 he was Chairman of Advisory Committee for Scientific and Technical Research, Prime Minister's Office, Spain. Thereafter he was Deputy Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, from 1978 to 1981.
Between 1981 and 1982, Mayor Zaragoza was Minister for Education and Science, Spain. Later he was Director of the Institute of the Sciences of Manitoba, Madrid, from 1983 to 1987, and Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1987 to 1999.
Mayor Zaragoza is currently the Chairman of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, since 1999. Moreover, he founded the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, serving as its President in 2000. The same year Federico Mayor Zaragoza published his book "The World Ahead."
Federico Mayor Zaragoza co-founded with Boutros Boutros Ghali, John Brademas, Edward J. Nell, Karim Errouaki and Alain Chanlat the Centre Humanism, Management & Globalization (HMG) at HEC-Montrea in 2002.
In 2005 he was designed co-president for the UN High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations. Later, in 2007, Federico Mayor Zaragoza co-founded with Boutros Boutros Ghali, Michel Rocard, John Brademas the Tangier Expo 2012 International Support Committee.
Besides, he was appointed the President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty in 2011.
Mayor Zaragoza was working with Edward J. Nell and Karim Errouaki on a book called "Reinventing Globalization after the Crash" in 2012.
"The path toward peace is much easier than the path toward war and confrontation."
"It is intolerable that the world's religions - founded on the values of love and compassion - should provide a pretext for the expression of hatred and violence."
"Winning peace means the triumph of our pledge to establish, on a democratic basis, a new social framework of tolerance and generosity from which no one will feel excluded."
Federico Mayor is an Earth Charter International Commission member. He has also been a member of the International Brain Research Organization, International Cell Research Organization, World Academy of Art and Science, World Science Institute, European Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Literature (founding member), Academia Europe, Spanish Society of Biochemistry (chairperson, 1970-1974), Spanish Royal Academy of Pharmacy, Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Besides, he has been a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, Biochemical Society (England), Royal Society of Chemistry (England), French Society of Biological Chemistry, French Academy of Pharmacy (corresponding member), Ateneo Veneto, Philippine Academy of Language, National Academy of Science of Bolivia, Argentinian Academy of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Rumanian Academy, Club of Rome, Club of Budapest.
Federico Mayor Zaragoza is also a founding member of the Issyk-Kul Forum. He is a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee since 2008. He also participates as jury member for the Prize for Conflict Prevention awarded every year by this foundation.
In 2013 Mayor Zaragoza joined the Nizami Ganjavi International Center Board.
Besides, he is also a member of the Honorary Board of the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, as well as the Honorary Chairman of the Académie de la Paix.
He is married to Maria Angeles Menendez. They have three children.