Lessons of peace from the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

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Source: World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates/Facebook Page

From February 2nd to 5th, 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 global personalities who are changing territories with initiatives, such as: demining processes in Africa and Asia, empowerment of disabled and vulnerable communities, advocacy, and educational and awareness projects in places scourged by war and other conflicts.
It’s needed to say that every talk was profoundly touching, specially in times characterized by acts of bigotry, intolerance and fascism by people, 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, international organizations or personalities.
We have to start to look around on a daily basis to react to every situation of injustice, violence, intolerance, racism, discrimination and bigotry. We must empower ourselves raising our voices together against acts that go against the human rights.

We also need to heal the wounds, and to that, we will have to confront opposing parties, sometimes really powerful as the State, but it shouldn’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 represent the main step for the end of the longest armed conflict in America, that have caused more than 220.000 deads and around 8’000.000 of displaced people. However, there is more work to do, even in places where the conflict didn’t touch the tranquility of its inhabitants. Because Colombians, and everyone else need to learn how to forgive. The question is how? cause it’s not easy, but there are options and one of them is by putting ourselves in the shoes of the other.
We all have cried, have felt defeated at some point. However, the real battle starts when we decide to stand up and fight against injustice for our family, neighbours and fellows. That motivation may come by some sort of anger that prompts an impulse within the bottom of our hearts. That’s what laureates like Rigoberta Menchú and Shirin Ebadi felt, they ignored how threatened and alone they were, they raised their voices until being heard. Now, they keep their fights empowered by the support of the civil society.
To reach the real peace it’s necessary to work every day for justice, education (in knowledge and values), inclusiveness, respect, access to basic services and opportunities for all, the initiative from governments and leaders is just the beginning. Next steps are in the hands of the civil society. And it goes from a conscious vote to actions that contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of communities in disadvantage.

In words of Kerry Kerry Kennedy, winner of the Medal for Social Activism, it’s necessary to increase the literacy of human rights. She affirmed that if women, children and everyone know and understand the law, their own rights and duties, it’s harder that injustice happen.
It’s time to start writing the chapter of peace; for this reason, we have to start working together, put the differences aside and remember our similarities. The youth has a great responsibility in this, because they have the responsibility of building a 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 that deserves peace, 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: http://www.nobelpeacesummit.com/
You can also read the Charter for a World Without Violence made during the 12th Summit in Chicago, clicking here: http://www.nobelpeacesummit.com/docs/charter-ENG.pdf

Published by Johanna

Colombian Muslim passionate for Humanitarian issues.

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