Warsaw turns into global capital of peace
October 21, 2013
Former President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Irish peace activists Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan and Lech Wałęsa, the former leader of Poland’s Solidarity trade union movement, are among the big names expected to attend the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to be held in Warsaw on October 21-23.
Wałęsa, who led the Solidarity union in its heyday in the 1980s and went on to become Polish president from 1990 to 1995, said, “Here in Warsaw, together with other Nobel laureates, we want to find answers to the pressing issues of our times.”
Solidarity was the first independent trade union in the Soviet bloc and played a key role in bringing down communism in Poland without bloodshed in 1989.
Wałęsa said that solidarity between people was vital in confronting the problems of the contemporary world. “We have work together in order to find solutions—how to build a secure and affluent world,” he added.
Over six thousand participants from Poland and abroad have registered to take part in the event. They will join the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in a debate on the key issues related to the reduction of global social inequalities and discussions on how to bring about a more peaceful world.
The debate will also be attended by representatives of Nobel Peace Prize awarded organizations: Permanent International Peace Bureau, Amnesty International, American Friends for Service Committee, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held in Central and Eastern Europe for the first time, is guided by the motto "Stand in solidarity for peace - time to act."
Piotr Gulczynski, President of the Executive Board of the Lech Walesa Institute, which organized the event, said that this year's motto gained a special significance: "Thirty years ago, President Lech Walesa was awarded the Nobel Prize for his commitment to the peaceful resolution of the problems faced by Poland. His actions were an expression of the unique sense of solidarity the Polish nation presented in its struggle for freedom and independence. Today, in the age of raging conflicts, the world needs the idea of solidarity as badly as Poland needed it three decades ago."
The Warsaw event will be the first such summit to be held in Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the meetings of the Nobel Peace Prize winners will be held at the Congress Hall at the Palace of Culture and Science, while the closing of the conference will take place at Warsaw’s National Opera/Wielki Theater building.
The Summit closing ceremony will feature the bestowing of the special ‘Peace Summit Award’ given in recognition of peace-consolidating activity. This year’s award will be given to a movie star Sharon Stone for her aid to HIV/AIDS victims.
The Lech Walesa Institute said that Stone was awarded the distinction in merit of her "determined efforts to aid and bring hope to persons battling with the tragedy of HIV/AIDS".
The list of the ‘Peace Summit Award’ Winners includes Sean Penn, Roberto Baggio, Annie Lennox, Bono, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Bob Geldof and Roberto Benigni.