By Luisa María Murillo & Jessica Rodríguez

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Source: World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates/Facebook Page

From February 2 to 5, 2017 the 16th Nobel Peace Prize World Summit was successfully held in Bogota, where for the first time 29 laureates met in the capital of Colombia.

There were also renowned personalities from around the globe, who are changing territories through their initiatives, such as: demining processes in countries in Africa and Asia, empowerment of disabled and vulnerable communities, the defense of human rights, and educational and awareness projects in places scourged by war and other conflicts.

It’s needed to say that every talk was profoundly touching, even more when acts of bigotry, intolerance and fascism are the flags of political parties and world leaders. This summit was charged by messages of awareness for all, especially for young people because as the laureate Tawakool Karman said “the future is in the youth, because old people will die”. The message was pretty clear: peace is in the hands of each person, this worldwide goal is not only the responsibility of governments or international organizations or personalities. We have to start to look around to react to injustice, violence, intolerance, racism, discrimination and bigotry. We must empower ourselves raising our voices together against acts that go against the human rights, or we can also start to heal wounds already made. And yes, we will have to confront opposing parties, sometimes really powerful as the State, but that can’t stop us (Lech Walesa, Nobel Laureate).  

In a world disrupted by different conflicts, Colombia is seen as a light of hope thanks to the peace processes that are the main step for the end of the longest armed conflict in America, that have left more than 220.000 deads and around 8’000.000 of displaced people. Still, there is work to do, even in the places where the conflict didn’t touch the tranquility of its inhabitants. Because Colombians, and everyone in general need to learn how to forgive. But how? As the photographer Abad Colorado said along the summit “in this country, we need to put ourselves in the skin of many people”.

We all have cried, have felt defeated at some point. However, the real battle starts when we stand up and fight against human rights violations to our family or to our nation, motivated by anger and that strength coming from the heart. That’s what laureates like Rigoberta Menchú and Shirin Ebadi did, they ignored how threatened and alone they were, they raised their voices until being heard, and they were. Now, they keep the fight empowered by the support of the civil society.

To reach the real peace it’s necessary to work for justice, education (in knowledge and values), inclusiveness, respect, basic needs and opportunities for all, the initiative from governments and leaders is just the beginning. Next steps are in the acts of civil society, from a conscious vote and the rejection of acts against peace to the contribution returning hope to the communities and people in disadvantages through big and/or small acts. To achieve it, it’s necessary to increase the literacy of human rights, and that’s what Kerry Kennedy, winner of the Medal for Social Activism, affirmed because if women, children and people in general know and understand the law, their own rights and duties in the context where they are, it’s harder to leave injustice to happen.

It’s time to start writing the chapter of  peace; for this reason, we have to start working together, forget the differences and remember our similarities. The youth has a great responsibility in this, because as the near future, have enough strength to carry on their shoulders the responsibility of building this new age.

To conclude the Summit the President of Colombia and most recent Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos read the 10 principles for peace that can be summarized in the importance of dialogue and respect when the conflict arises, also the idea that even when we are different we all belong to the brotherhood of humanity with the right of peace in every corner, and equal opportunities without exception, specially in terms of education and health. He finished with one of the points of the youth manifesto for peace: “We will build two bridges for each wall that rises”.

And remember: the differences and borders  are only in our minds. The Beatle John Lennon once said “You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one”

If you want to know more, you can visit the official website of the Nobel Peace Summit:

You can also read the Charter for a World Without Violence made during the 12th Summit in Chicago, clicking here: