Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights

Chicago, 12th Summit – 23-25 April 2012

Final Statement

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.

The Chicago Summit placed a special emphasis on engaging and empowering youth to action in their communities and world. The Permanent Secretariat have partened with Chicago Public Schools and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to connect Nobel Laureates in sharing their powerful stories directly with Chicago Public School students. The theme of the 2012 Summit was used as a call-to-action for young people to enact change in their classrooms and communities.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Tibet
President Frederik Willem de Klerk – South Africa
President Jimmy Carter – United States
Professor Jody Williams – United States
President Lech Wałęsa – Poland
President Mikhail Gorbachev – Russia
Professor Muhammad Yunus – Bangladesh
President Óscar Arias – Costa Rica
Dr. Shirin Ebadi – Iran

American Friends Service Committee: Dr. Shan Cretin, General Secretary
Amnesty International: Ms. Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC
International Campaign to Ban Landmines: Mr. Stephen Goose, Director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division and Co-Founder
International Committee of the Red Cross: Mr. Alexandre Liebeskind, Secretary of the Committee and Personal Advisor to the President
International Labour Organization: Ms. Telma Viale, Special Representative to the United Nations and Director of the New York Office
International Peace Bureau: Ms. Ingeborg Breines, Co-President International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War & Dr. Ira Helfand, Vice President
Médecins Sans Frontières
PUGWASH Conferences: Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, President
United Nations: H.E. Ambassador Thomas Stelzer, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs
United Nations Children’s Fund: Ms. Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of the US Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Mr. Udo Janz, Director of the New York Office

Hosting Party

2012 Chicago Host Committee Chairs
Rahm Emanuel Mayor, City of Chicago, Honorary Chair
Pat Quinn Governor, State of Illinois, Co-Chair
Robert J. Gallucci President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Co-Chair
Kerry Kennedy President, RFK Center, Co-Chair
Terry Mazany President and CEO, Chicago Community Trust, Co-Chair
Michael Sacks Vice-Chair, World Business Chicago, Co-Chair
Christopher Kennedy Chairman, Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Co-Chair

Chicago Local Host Committee
Wendy Abrams Executive Director, Cool Globes
Ellen S. Alberding President, Joyce Foundation
Paula Allen-Meares Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Rita R. Athas President, World Business Chicago
Jean-Claude Brizard CEO, Chicago Public Schools
Marshall M. Bouton President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
John A. Canning, Jr. Chairman and CEO, Madison Dearborn
Warrick L. Carter President, Columbia College Chicago
Mark Furlong President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Harris Bank
Michael J. Garanzini SJ, President and CEO, Loyola University
Lori Healey Executive Director, NATO Host Committee
David Hiller President and CEO, McCormick Foundation
Michael J. Hogan President, University of Illinois
Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M. President, DePaul University
Sheila Kennedy
Jan Kostner Deputy Director, Illinois Office of Tourism
Liz Kramer Lefkofsky
Tim Maloney Illinois President, Bank of America
Lewis Manilow
Walter Massey President, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
John McCarter President and CEO, Field Museum
Michael S. McPherson President, Spencer Foundation
Charles R. Middleton President, Roosevelt University
Sid L. Mohn President, Heartland Alliance
Peggy Parfenoff Executive Director, World Chicago
James Reynolds, Jr. Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO Loop Capital
Judith Rodin President, Rockefeller Foundation
Deborah F. Rutter President, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association
Morton Schapiro President, Northwestern University
Patrick Sheahan Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility, UBS Americas
Glenn Tilton Chairman of the Midwest, JPMorgan Chase
Don Welsh President and CEO, Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau
Robert J. Zimmer President, University of Chicago

The Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

The Gorbachev Foundation


University of Illinois at Chicago – UIC Forum
725 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago

Attendees should arrive promptly to allow extra time for security clearance.

Welcome and “Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights”
Opening Ceremony of 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

“New Challenges for Peace”
A Conversation About Promoting Peace and Justice in a Multination Strategy

Panelists to Include:
President Mikhail Gorbachev
President Lech Wałęsa
President Frederik Willem de Klerk
President Oscar Arias
President Jimmy Carter

Chris Jansing, MSNBC

“Investing in Peace” 
The Responsibility of Businesses and Governments to Build a Fair and Sustainable World

Panelists to Include:
Professor Muhammad Yunus
H.E. Ambassador Thomas Stelzer, United Nations
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Ms. Telma Viale, International Labour Organization
Mr. Alexander Liebeskind, International Committee of the Red Cross

Doug Brinkley, Author, Historian, Media Commentator (CBS, Vanity Fair)

University of Illinois at Chicago – UIC Forum
725 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago

Attendees should arrive promptly to allow extra time for security clearance.

“One Person Can Make A Difference”

Panelists to Include:
President Frederik Willem de Klerk
President Lech Wałęsa
Dr. Shan Cretin, American Friends Service Committee
Mr. Steve Goose, International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Dr. Bruce Lampard, Médecins Sans Frontières

Jim Frederick, International Editor, TIME

Presentation of the Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism

“Women Forging Peace”

Panelists to Include:
Dr. Shirin Ebadi
Professor Jody Williams
Ms. Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International

Mr. Udo Janz, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Ms. Caryl Stern, UNICEF
Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN International

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall
220 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Attendees should arrive promptly to allow extra time for security clearance.

“A World Without Nuclear Weapons”

Panelists to Include:
President Oscar Arias
Dr. Shirin Ebadi
Mrs. Ingeborg Breines, International Peace Bureau
Dr. Ira Helfand, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, PUGWASH Conferences

David Martin, National Security Correspondent, CBS News

Presentation of the 2012 Peace Summit Award

“World Peace and Nonviolence: Never Give Up”

Panelists to Include:
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
President Mikhail Gorbachev
Professor Jody Williams
Professor Muhammad Yunus

Jim Wooten, Journalist and Author


Sean Penn

Sean Penn – two-time Academy Award winner, American film icon in a career spanning nearly three decades – received the Peace Summit Award 2012, in Chicago on 22 April, during the 12th Wolrd Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Sean Penn was chosen for his work to rebuild and aid the victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, establishing the j/P Haitian Relief Organization. The j/P Haitian Relief Organization that has become a leader in Haiti across multiple sectors, working to improve living conditions in the Internally Displaced Persons camps and surrounding neighborhoods by clearing rubble and providing medical services, education and enrichment programs, housing construction and neighborhood redevelopment. Sean Penn has be noticed also for his ongoing advocacy for peace and human rights protection worldwide.

“I’m thrilled to receive this tribute and to represent it to the youth of Haiti, the strong women of Haiti, and of the world. Tomorrow is a new day where cynicism is for cowards, and men of virtue and agency will be true heroes to their sons. Many in my generation know cowardice well, but not the youth, and not the women. And never the Haitians. This is an extraordinary honor in an extraordinary moment on Earth. I’m very grateful.”

– Sean Penn


Michaela Mycroft

During the second day of the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Michaela Mycroft was praised for her commitment to the rights of children with disabilities in her homeland South Africa. Among the laureates that were present at the Summit were former president Mikhail Gorbachev, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and former president Lech Walesa. Michaela Mycroft spoke with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. In his speech former president FW de Klerk called her efforts impressive and noted that with her positive attitude she is an inspiration to many. After these praising words, he presented this extraordinary prize to Michaela Mycroft.

Michaela Mycroft was born with Cerebral Palsy, which is why the function of her arms and legs is limited. But where others see limitations, she sees possibilities. Michaela Mycroft: “My main drive is for differently-abled people to be included and accepted the way we are, because we cannot change our disability but we can change the way people see our disability.

Michaela Mycroft mentioned in her speech that we can make disability just another trait instead of a reason for exclusion. To make that happen we need to work together. She also referred to a song of the band Nickelback that says: “What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight”. Michaela Mycroft: “I know that the prize of inclusion is definitely worth the fight.

Finally, Michaela Mycroft mentioned that it is even more special for her to receive the award from former president FW de Klerk. Michaela Mycroft: “I was born in 1994 and this was the year that Nelson Mandela became president of the new South Africa. It is therefore even more special for me to receive this award from former president FW de Klerk, because he worked with former president Mandela towards a more equal society.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you want to be updated about the last news, please subscribe.