World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Day 2

So much learning happened today at the World Summit!

The day began with music and with a moment of silence to remember the victims of two devastating earthquakes that struck Mexico City on September 19, one in 1985 and one in 2017.

During the morning sessions that followed, panels addressed the issues of Social and Economic Development and Native Cultures and Regional Peace. Here are thoughts worth remembering from each of the Laureates we heard today:

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  • Juan Manuel Santos (2016): The biggest threat to world peace since the establishment of the U.N. is climate change, which is not a possibility but a certainty. 
  • Leymah Gbowee (2011): Decide to be insane in standing up against social systems that aren’t working.
  • Kailash Satyarthi (2014): When you gather the courage to change injustices around you, there is the seed of a Nobel Prize inside you.
  • Tawakkol Karman (2011): Western countries must stop supporting and protecting dictators who are killing people and killing peace.
  • Shirin Ebadi (2003): Innocent people are being killed in fighting between world powers. The people have no problems with each other. The root cause of the conflicts is dictatorship, and the rule of international law is needed for change. 
  • David Trimble (1998): Individuals can make a difference, but need the support of government policies to create peace. 
  • Lech Walesa (1983): If you have a burden you can’t lift yourself, ask for help. All the problems identified today will require solidarity between peoples to solve. 
  • Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992): We must embrace the values of indigenous communities and weave a network of joy in our work.
  • Jody Williams (1997): We need to fundamentally change the way we see others, to see that everyone has the same right to live in the way they want, as long as they are not harming anyone else. We need a new system of distributing wealth. Communism didn’t work, but capitalism isn’t doing so well either.
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Jody Williams on the big screen: Be crazy for peace!

Another honored speaker on the panel on indigenous rights was Bernice King from Atlanta’s King Center, and daughter of 1964 Peace Prize laureate Martin Luther King, Jr.  She reminded us of her father’s words, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” If indigenous people are not secure, she told us, none of us are.

Afternoon sessions afforded more opportunities to soak up the wisdom of the laureates. Leymah Gbowee hosted a particularly high-energy workshop and engaged an enthusiastic group of participants in a discussion about finding passion and mobilizing for change.


“Peace is the presence of every condition that makes you and I feel validated and appreciated.”

Many of the ideas shared today reaffirmed the importance of the work that we do at Peacebuilders Camp. By bringing together young people from multiple backgrounds, instilling in them an appreciation and understanding of human rights, and affirming their power to make significant change, we know we are nurturing the seeds of peace that are growing within each of our campers. Whether or not any of those seeds produce Nobel Prizes, we are certain that they will produce a better, safer, more just and sustainable world.

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