16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
On 10 December 1948, in Paris, the UN General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This charter re-affirms the universal nature of human rights and lays down the principle of the equal dignity of every person. By virtue of its history, its values, its culture, Paris was naturally destined to host this 9th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which focused in particular on the question of human rights.
The twentieth anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall presented a unique opportunity to examine global developments since then – including the rise and fall of unipolarism – and to consider the strategic, ideological and economic implications of the emerging multipolar world. The 10th Summit considered how the ideological, economic, strategic and religious walls that continue to divide humanity might best be dismantled and replaced with bridges of communication and understanding.
How Hiroshima is remembered – his Legacy - is of critical importance in shaping our understanding of its meaning and our motivation to support or oppose nuclear weapons. This is the reason why we considered particularly important to dedicate the XI World Summit to the topic “The Legacy of Hiroshima: a World without Nuclear Weapons”. The Summit has represented a great opportunity to reaffirm our common goal of progressing toward a nuclear-weapons free world. In particular, we have examined the devastation that nuclear weapons might cause; the implementation of existing nuclear weapons treaties; the challenge of non-proliferation; the threat of nuclear terrorism; and the role that Cities and Civil Society can play.
The 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, themed “Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights,” marked the first time the event was held in North America. The themes of the Chicago Summit was centered on peace, human rights and youth involvement. The three-day Chicago World Summit featured moderated discussions with Nobel Peace Laureates that was streamed live around the globe, providing a rare opportunity for audience members to observe and engage the world’s most notable figures in a discussion on global peace and human rights.
For the first time in its history the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was held in Central Europe. The message of "Solidarity", a driving force behind the peaceful change in Poland and Europe, has been the point of reference for a debate on global development, aptly described in the Summit's motto "Stand in Solidarity for Peace - Time to Act". The Warsaw edition marked 30 years since Poland’s Lech Walesa won the Nobel for leading the Solidarity trade union, which negotiated a peaceful end to communism at home in 1989.
After a six-year break the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates returned in Rome, the city where the official Summit organizer, the Permanent Secretariat is based and where the World Summit was born and its first 8 editions have been hosted, renewing its spirit as a meeting point of the ideals of Peace.
The Summit commemorated the life and work of Nelson Mandela as a global icon for peace, the man who gave his life in the name of Peace and Freedom. The man, who managed to influence entire generations through his timeless example, is still a symbol of courage and perseverance. It extended a message to the many young people who watched and participated in the events of the 2014 World Summit, whether by attending the event in Rome, or viewing the international live stream over the internet: even the most difficult and intractable problems can be solved peacefully through goodwill and genuine negotiations.
The humanitarian crisis presented by lives disrupted by the civil war in Syria, drug driven corruption in Central America and Mexico, chaos arising from the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the poverty driven multiple crises arising in Africa from dysfunctional governance, the failure of the rule of law, hyper-exploitation, and environmental degradation must be met with the kind of generosity that helped make America, a nation of immigrants, dynamic, creative, entrepreneurial, and wealthy. Refugees don’t leave home because they want to; they leave because choices have run out. People who come to one’s country to seek refuge from oppression, violence, chaos, or poverty when welcomed wisely can bring enormous benefits.
Refugees or immigrants are often castigated because they are different, but in today’s world, with education and motivation, an immigrant population in one generation can excel. One need only look at the vast number of people from India or South Korea bringing enormous benefits to host countries.
Responding to today’s crises on the human and immediate level is imperative and homes must be found, but that does not sufficiently address causes. The policies advanced by Nobel Peace Laureates address the root causes of most of these crises. The Peace Laureates and Laureate organizations focus on human rights, gender equity, environmental responsibility, peace and security, conflict prevention and resolution, and disarmament. They serve as examples of how solutions can be obtained and resources redirected by ending war, diminishing the reliance on weapons and violence, particularly threats of nuclear annihilation, and promoting sustainable development and peace. The policies of the Laureates are what the world needs to prevent future refugee crises.
For three days in Barcelona some of the world’s most inspiring successful advocates of social, political, community, international, and personal peace have gathered and addressed present challenges with inspiration and practical solutions.