The 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates ended Sunday with participants in the three-day event resolved in their struggle end violence in the world. Laureates like F. W. de Klerk, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman and Mairead Maguire joined the event in Barcelona to deliberate on particularly relevant theme – “Advocating for Refugees. Achieving World Peace.”
“No single event can make the world a more peaceful place on its own. However, in times like these, a meeting of great minds as we saw here, exchanging views and communicating, are extremely important,” said Yasuhiro Aoyama, general manager of the Global Sales and Marketing Division of event sponsor Mazda during the summit’s closing ceremony. “Friday’s terrible events in Paris only confirmed that the strong voice of the Nobel Peace laureates and their cry for peace is needed now as never before.”
The summit featured a number of thought-provoking sessions. For example, at “Crossing the walls for freedom”, a Friday panel discussion, Melissa Fleming from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and three laureates – de Klerk, Oscar Arias Sanchez and Betty Williams – examined the opportunities refugees offer host nations based on experiences in the past. On Saturday, meanwhile, “Justice for global change” saw laureates such as David Trimble and Lech Walesa debate the need to reform the economic system to enable a longer-term and more humane perspective.
As Leading Partner to the event, Mazda provided financial support and a fleet of Mazda6s, CX-5s, CX-3s and MX-5s as the official transportation. The carmaker also hosted a Youth Programme workshop entitled “Modern Tools of Advocacy”. The Friday afternoon session attracted more than 150 predominantly university students from Europe, the U.S. and beyond. They were treated to a talk by F. W. de Klerk, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 together with Nelson Mandela for their role in ending apartheid in South Africa. His speech focused on the role of communication in his country’s transition to non-racial democracy. “In the process we learned that new and better realities are created not only by what we do but, just as importantly, by how we communicate,” he concluded.
BBC journalist Yalda Hakim then talked about covering harrowing events that don’t always make the headlines, like the March lynching death of Farkhunda Malikzada, a 27-year-old Afghan woman who spoke out against a local cleric. “This is an example of a young person speaking up against the establishment and facing the wrath of religious scholars in her society,” explained Hakim, adding that social media then mobilised hundreds of women who took to the streets to protest her death.” After Euronews host Chris Burns discussed working with the media to promote altruistic initiatives, participants were given time to prepare and submit their applications for the third-annual Mazda Make Things Better Award. The jury will shortlist finalists from the 50-odd submissions in January, with the winner to be announced in spring. Reflecting Mazda’s challenger spirit as a company from Hiroshima, the €10,000 prize goes to the proposal making the best use of modern tools of advocacy to bring about positive change in the world.
“Leadership needs to be learned, and who better to learn it from than the laureates with their proven track record of challenging the status quo,” commented Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton. “We’re happy to help pave the way for a new generation of leaders by encouraging these young people to take action.”