Speaking to some 700 University of Washington students last week, Dr Hans Blix bluntly warned that the world is “sleepwalking into new armed races”.
The 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient said the reasons for war between the superpowers in the past – ideological, religious and territorial borders – are no longer valid reasons for open warfare and arms build up.
He pointed to areas in the Nordic territories and Europe as examples where warfare is no longer a solution to conflict.
2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Irene Khan has called for prompt action from the United Nations Security Council and Asean to protect the pro-democracy demonstrators in Myanmar.
Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, has urged the United Nations Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive and mandatory arms embargo on Myanmar. She has also called on the principal suppliers of arms to Myanmar to stop supplying Myanmar with military equipment.
In an open letter to the Association of South East Asian Nations, Khan also urged ASEAB members to “take prompt and effective action to protect the right to peaceful demonstration in Myanmar and avoid further escalation of violence and human rights violations”.
Nobel Laureate and 1999 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu has received the inaugural Mahatma Gandhi Global nonviolence award.
Tutu said he was accepting the award on behalf of the millions who struggled for freedom from apartheid in South Africa.
He said: “I usually say what is so patently obvious that when you are in a crowd and you stand out, it is only because you are being carried on the shoulders of others.”
Click here to see a newsclip of Tutu’s visit to JMU.
2003 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Dr Hanan Ashrawi spoke to a group of Cornell University students last week on the possible ways to bring peace to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In the lecture titled “Peace in the Middle East: Who Needs It Now?”, Ashrawi repeated the two solutions that have been oft mentioned: an end to the “occupation” by Israel and a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders.
Reponding to a question lifting the occupation will endanger civilian life in Israel, Ashrawi said: “You know I always get this question … I don’t know, how do we give psychotherapy to the collective Israeli mind? … it’s pretty racist to say, ‘you cannot trust Palestinians … how do you know?”
Ashrawi’s talk is part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies’ Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus said there is a new glabal agreement to tackle climate change and the agreement needs to be implemented quickly.
Speaking at an international conference on climate change in Seoul last week, Prof Yunus said: “As the countries develop, they became so focussed on the development. They forget about what they are doing on the planet.”
The inaugural Sydney Peace Prize recipient called for international cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and called for a binding international agreement to be implemented.
“You can never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate — poverty, disease, ignorance, et cetera.”
In an interview with CNN, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said poverty fuels the war on terror.
“I think people are beginning to realize that you can’t have pockets of prosperity in one part of the world and huge deserts of poverty and deprivation and think that you can have a stable and secure world,” the 1999 Sydney Peace Prize recipient told CNN.