Concluding of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
Dicembre 15th, 2014 by admin

Concluding Session of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

Rome, Italy, 14 December 2014 – Today, Nobel Peace Laureates gathered in the Giulio Cesar Hall on Rome’s Capitol Hill for the final session of their 14th World Summit. Proceedings opened with Ekaterina Zagladina, President of Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, delivering a message from President Mikhail Gorbachev. He was one of the instigators of the first summits. He expressed concern about ongoing conflicts in the world and the neglect of climate change. Amongst his hopes was an appeal for the Ukraine crisis to be settled. He said:

“Every Nobel Laureate can contribute to leading us back to the path of peace.”

Michael Moller, on behalf of the United Nations, read a message from the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. He expressed greetings to the assembled Peace Laureates and offered congratulations to the newest among them, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, while supporting their calls for peace in the world. Looking ahead to 2015, he said the original millennium goals must be met and new targets set. 2015 will also be the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN and an occasion for reflection. He concluded:

“I call on your collective wisdom to support our common aims.” The assembly was called to observe one minute’s silence to remember the victims of ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Then, the moderator turned to the panel consisting of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, Betty Williams, Mairead Maguire and Rajendra Pachauri to address the Peace Crisis, particularly in connection with warfare in Africa, but also related to lasting conflicts throughout the world. His Holiness began: “When it comes to Africa, I think you, Mrs Gbowee, know much more about it than me. I have been to South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon and my main impression is of the gap between rich and poor. I saw almost naked people carrying birds they had just killed for food and was struck by the contrast between them and the smart people I’d met not far away in the city. This gap between rich and poor is not only morally wrong, even from a practical point of view it’s a source of problems. We find it in India, but we also find it in the USA, the most developed country in the world. The poor need to work hard with self-confidence to improve their lot, while the better off need to offer support and provide facilities.

The world’s problems cannot be solved by the actions of a few individuals, even if they are Nobel Peace Laureates. The 7 billion people in the world must all work to create a happier more equal world. Each of us on an individual level has a responsibility to work for a better world wherever we are.”

Betty Williams pointed out that on 9/11 when the Twin Towers fell 3000 people died and were mourned and remembered, but at the same time more than 36,000 children died around the world of malnutrition and no one said anything about it. Leymah Gbowee began by reminding everyone that Africa is a continent consisting of 54 nations, not just one country. She said it makes her quite uncomfortable to feel that Africa is treated as the place that is like a disease. She went on to suggest that to tackle the problems of poverty and ignorance she advocates an overhaul of the African education system. She asked why Africans should any longer learn about the history of Italy or the USA, when they don’t learn about their own history. She said that if there had been more investment in health infrastructure the world would not be facing an ebola crisis now. Speaking in her native Farsi, Shirin Ebadi drew attention to problems in the Islamic world today. Syria has been occupied by extremists who kill people. ISIS is not just a terrorist group, but an incorrect ideology. She said we have to address the root of fundamentalism, which is ignorance. The behaviour of ISIS is not acceptable to Islam. However, it is a problem that none of the governments of the Middle East is democratic. When people live for years under these circumstances they become tired of dictatorship. They rise up and they are suppressed. She appealed to European countries no longer to help the dictators. She clarified that they deposit their ill-gotten wealth in European banks. Too often, when they are removed, the money doesn’t find its way back to the country it belongs to. She ended by repeating her appeal: “Please don’t support the dictators.”

Mairead Maguire asked how we can help Africa. She said: “We humans have to approach each other as human beings. We can love each other, but we make mistakes. We have to check up on our mistakes. We need new ways to communicate with each other. My advice for the people of Africa is to solve your problems your way.”

Having vividly outlined the threats from climate change yesterday, Rajendra Pachauri drew attention to the potential for renewable energy. He spoke of a campaign to light a million lives with solar panels, which are managed by the women of the family. He said: “Now that we know about the threats, let us work together to address the multiplicity of challenges that climate change presents us with.” Discussions over, Tawakkol Karman stepped forward to present the 2014 World Peace Summit Award. She announced that this year it had been awarded to veteran Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, recalling the highlight of a long career in filmmaking when ‘The Last Emperor’ won all 9 Oscars it had been nominated for. Bertolucci entered the hall in his wheelchair and His Holiness the Dalai Lama came down to greet him, presenting him with a white scarf. While His Holiness held the microphone he read his acceptance speech in which he spoke of trying to increase awareness of the need to help those who like him are wheelchair bound.

As part of the closing ceremonies, the summit host, the Mayor of Rome, Ignacio Marino said Rome was proud to have been able to host the meeting that had sent out messages of hope to places still wracked by war. He thanked the Peace Laureates for coming and repeated the summit’s commitment to education that remains the most powerful tool with which to change the world. As a token of this commitment, special efforts had been made to include young people in the proceedings.

President of Permanent Secretariat, Ekaterina Zagladina, expressed thanks to everyone who had contributed to making it a successful summit. The CEO of Mazda, one of the principal sponsors, thanked everyone who had made it possible and repeated that the aim is to make the world a better place. Leymah Gbowee read the Summit Declaration. It reminded everyone that the aim had been to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela and there was a general sadness that this could not be done in South Africa because of that country’s government’s declining to grant His Holiness the Dalai Lama a visa to attend. It noted the continuing threat posed by the conflict in Ukraine. It pledged to work to end violations of human rights and the welfare of women and children. It took a stand against the proliferation of killer robots and other indiscriminate weapons of war.

The Mayor of Atlanta, a guest throughout this summit, invited delegates to the next summit to be held next year in his city. He mentioned that the state of Georgia claimed two Nobel Peace Laureates, Martin Luther King Jr and Jimmy Carter. He said: “I look forward to more fruitful conversation in 2015. I won’t forget my time in Rome. I’m grateful to you all.”

The final event was the convening of a Press Conference, which was opened by the Mayor. He repeated how proud Rome and he were to have hosted the summit. He mentioned that when he heard of the difficulties concerning His Holiness’s visa for South Africa, he had offered Rome as an alternative venue. Now it was concluded he wished everyone a safe journey home.

The first question from South African News was addressed to His Holiness. Noting that the Mayor of Cape Town has extended another invitation to him, he was asked: “Will you come?” He replied: “On my part there is no problem, but on the part of your government there may be, so I can’t say.” A second question was also directed to His Holiness about support for the student pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. He answered: “Basically these young students want a full democratic system. Everybody, including intellectuals in mainland China supports this. But no matter how good your motivation or how high your hopes, you have to adopt a realistic approach if you are to succeed. The government of the People’s Republic of China is powerful and change does not come easily.”

A third question was put generally to the women of the summit, asking them about the role of women in leadership. His Holiness immediately voiced his support for the leadership of women, saying that they should play a more active role. Jody Williams joined in saying that men for too long enjoyed a privilege they don’t necessarily deserve. She recommended letting women speak up and implement the law. As an example of its being an uphill battle she cited a recent occasion when Ban Ki-moon publicly expressed support for the rights of women, but a week later in assembling a peacekeeping panel only appointed 3 women among 15 men. She said we need men and women to make things happen. Betty Williams spoke as a mother and in the context of war declared: “You’re not destroying the fruit of my womb.”

Shirin Ebadi made clear that we are talking about entrenched discrimination against women. Patriarchy, she said, sets women aside. And although women are the victims of this, they also participate in it. She said she compares patriarchy to haemophilia, an ailment due to which a small cut can lead to extensive bleeding. It is related to a gene that is only passed to the male child; patriarchy is like this too. She stressed the need for education and training for women to overcome this. She remarked that it is time for women to reinterpret their role in religion.

Tawakkol Karman added that every woman around the world should lead the change. She declared that we need a woman President in the USA, in Russia, in Iran, in China, in Saudi Arabia and at the UN.

If women were in power, war would not take place.”

Leymah Gbowee added her thought that we need two eyes to see the whole picture. If one eye is covered up, you don’t see clearly. Excluding women like this is why the world is upside down.

A question was raised about Afghanistan and Shirin Ebadi reminded everyone that 38 years ago the USSR invaded the country. To help fight them the USA built up and armed the Taliban. Having let the genie out of the bottle, the Taliban now fights the US too.

His Holiness was again asked what he would have said to the Pope, if, as expected they had been able to meet. He replied: “I’ve faced experiences like this many times. It’s normal. It’s not a problem. To some people I appear like a trouble-maker, so it’s understandable that they try to obstruct me. No problem.”

Jody Williams spoke up to offer an alternative Summit Declaration about Liu Xiaobo. She said: “It’s a tragedy for us that our fellow Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo can’t make the choice to join us here. Not only have the Chinese authorities imprisoned him, they have also put difficulties in the way of another of our fellow Laureates here. They have even meddled in the ability of spiritual leaders to meet each other. A day will come when Liu Xiaobo will be with us, just as there will be day when the world is free of nuclear weapons.” Leymah Gbowee, speaking about helping to solve the problems of Africa remarked that there needs to be more “talking with, rather than talking at.” The 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was declared closed. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will tomorrow embark on the journey back to India.

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