Closing Ceremony of the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

22.09.2019. Merida, Yucatan. – The fourth and final day of the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Mérida, Yucatán opened with two thought-provoking and inspiring panel discussions. The first discussion, “The Power of Law vs the Law of Power”, boasted an impressive line-up of Peace Laureates, including FW de Klerk, Shirin Ebadi, David Trimble, and Laureate Organisation Representatives José Manuel Barroso of the European Commission and Marcelo Kohen of the Institute of International Law.  The second and final panel discussion of the Summit gave the audience one last opportunity to learn from Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Juan Manuel Santos and Kailash Satyarthi on “Peace Education: Love of Power vs the Power of Love”.

The Closing Ceremony started with the Youth Declaration, delivered on behalf of the youth delegates by a diverse group of young people from across the globe, speaking with one voice and calling for peace in our world. Following this, Laureate Leymah Gbowee presented the Mérida Declaration on behalf of her fellow Laureates. The Ceremony also offered another opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the work of an exceptional group of peace-makers, with the presentation of several awards.

This year the Summit offered two prizes for participants of the Leading by Example program, each for the amount of $10,000 USD for the young person who has submitted the best idea to impact social change at the local or global level. The Turner Prize for Social Change, supported by the Ted Turner Family Foundation, was awarded to Mohamad Aljounde, a volunteer activist. The project that he presented, will support Syrian children who have to drop out of school by promoting education and providing clothing and necessary materials for them to achieve success in their lives. The Preemptive Love Prize for Youth Activism, supported by the Preemptive Love organisation, was awarded to Saskia Nino de Rivera who seeks to improve the prevention of crime and improvement of security in her home community by working in collaboration with the prison system.

The three Summit Award recipients were also particularly well-received by the crowd: musician Miguel Bose received the Peace Summit Medal for Social Impact and educator Mary Shuttleworth received the Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism – quite fittingly from fellow South African, FW de Klerk. The final award, the Peace Summit Award, was presented to international pop superstar, Ricky Martin. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2003, the award was in acknowledgement of his lifelong philanthropic work, particularly the upliftment of children. In his acceptance speech, he spoke with great passion about equal rights for the LGBTQI both in Mexico and throughout the world, saying “To attain peace, we must first fight for our right to live freely”.

Permanent Secretariat President, Ekaterina Zagladina, shared an impassioned plea for delegates to take what they had learned during the Summit to the rest of the world, and to work together for peace in our time. She also thanked the people of Yucatán for their warm welcome and unparalleled hospitality. In closing, the Secretariat pronounced Yucatán as a ‘State of Peace’ and presented the Governor with a decree signed by all the Laureates.