Nobel Peace Prizie Award 2004
The Nobel Peace Prize Award will take place tomorrow.Please post pics of the event in this thread.
I thought I´d start off this thread with some photos of this year´s winner of the Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai. A profile can be found here.
Yes, isn't she the one who said that scientists created AIDS to wipe out black people? I wonder which racist or terrrorist will get the award this year:
Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, today reiterated her claim that the AIDS virus was a deliberately created biological agent.
"Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.
"Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet," Ms Maathai told a press conference in Nairobi a day after winning the prize for her work in human rights and reversing deforestation across Africa.
"It's true that there are some people who create agents to wipe out other people. If there were no such people, we could have not have invaded Iraq," she said.
"We invaded Iraq because we believed that Saddam Hussein had made, or was in the process of creating agents of biological warfare," said Ms Maathai.
"In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare," she added. "
Here´s an article from today from the AP:
OSLO, Norway - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai defended being chosen as the first environmentalist to win the award, saying Thursday it would help others understand the importance of protecting the world's resources
"Most wars that are fought in the world are fought over what? Natural resources," the 64-year-old Kenyan told reporters at the Nobel Institute. "If you don't manage your natural resources equitably, you cannot have peace." Maathai, the first African woman and first Kenyan to win the peace prize, was selected for her role in founding the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women, improve the environment and fight corruption in Africa for nearly 30 years. She is to formally receive the award in a ceremony in Oslo on Friday.
A deputy environment minister in the Kenyan government, she also won acclaim for her campaign to fight deforestation by planting 30 million trees in Africa, making her Nobel prize the first to acknowledge environmentalism as a means of building peace. When the award was announced in October, Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said the committee "added a new dimension to peace" by choosing Maathai, but critics contended it diluted the nature of the prize.
Maathai told The Associated Press that the secretive five-member committee was looking at new ways to promote peace.
"This shift the Nobel Committee has made is an extremely important shift for us, because it puts the environment right at the top of the agenda," she said.
Maathai said protecting the environment is a vital part of building both a democratic and peaceful society.
"Without this link, we cannot make progress, we cannot have peace and we cannot have development," Maathai said.
Richard N. Goldman, president of the San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation, which awarded Maathai the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1991, agreed.
He noted that Maathai is one of the few laureates not to be associated with any armed conflict. "I think that's a step in the right direction," he said.
Maathai dedicated the award to the hundreds of women in Kenya who have been part of the Green Belt Movement.
"I hope that we shall live up to the challenges and responsibilities that this great honor bestows on us," she said. "(The media) attention has made it possible for us to pass the message we've been trying to pass for 30 years. Now the world is listening."
Maathai also said she hoped the prize, which includes a cash award of $1.5 million, would give African women more influence and stature in often male-dominated societies.
"In Kenya, I have not met one man who did not have a smile on his face and did not have a word of congratulations," she said. "I think there will be a shift (in gender politics) throughout Africa."
Maathai declined to give her views on the war in Iraq, but said, "we can only hope this conflict will end very soon, so we can start reconstruction."
The Nobel Prizes are always presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of their creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel. The peace prize is presented in Oslo, while the other Nobel prizes are awarded in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Last year, the peace prize was given to Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. Former President Jimmy Carter received it in 2002."
Live webcast coming up! http://nobelprize.org/nobel/events/video/ceremony-banquet-04/index.html
it will start in about 3½ hours hope to see you at TRF then
Mette-Marit will not attend, she is sick, (omgangssyke) hopes to be well soon. Haakon will go to the Save the Children arrangement at 11.30
That´s too bad. I hope she will get better soon.
The feed has begun. It is in English. Decent picture on the WMP. They showed Oprah!
Ms. Maathai has arrived and now we wait for the royal family to appear.
The City Hall is decorated nice for the holidays. One thing that is noticeable is the colorful clothing of the guests from Kenya.
The Royal Family has arrived. The King, Queen and the Crown Prince. Nice fanfare for them.
There was a lovely waltz played on the piano at the beginning of the ceremony on piano and violin. The violinist is one of Norway´s most well-known artists in the field of Roots Music. You can read more about her at:
If you find Nordic folk music interesting, check out
which is a site for records on the Northside label. The "Nordic Roots" collection is quite good. You can probably find it at any good record store with international music where you will see the "Cheaper than Food" label on the cover. :)
Address by Professor Ole Danbolt Mjøs, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo, December 10, 2004
"Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Peace Prize Laureate, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 to Wangari Maathai for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment. Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women's rights in particular. She thinks globally and acts locally." These are the opening sentences of the Committee's statement of its reasons for this year's Peace Prize award on the 8th of October.
"My God, my God", Wangari Maathai exclaimed, when the Director of the Nobel Institute called her on a poor mobile phone connection to tell her that she had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. She bubbled over with joy, and the news was all over the world in an instant – a good twenty minutes before the official announcement in Oslo! Maathai was visiting the little village of Ihururu, 95 kilometres north of Nairobi, distributing food from the government. Her Kenyan listeners – mostly women – clapped politely when she told them that she had been awarded the Peace Prize. But they laughed out loud when she told them that she had been given so much money that she couldn't even count it.
Today, Wangari Maathai, you are here in the Oslo Town Hall to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. We share your joy with you and with your closest relatives and friends who are gathered here. We are also pleased to see so many Kenyans and other Africans in the Town Hall. We have all come together here to pay you our tribute.
Dear mama Wangari Maathai,
You have shown what it means to be a true African mother and a true African woman. Kenya admires you! Africa admires you! The world admires you! May your unceasing fight for the right always remain a source of inspiration for mankind.
I think the announcement has already changed your life. Your name will figure prominently in the history of the Peace Prize, together with the other African Peace Prize Laureates: Albert Lutuli, Anwar Sadat, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Fredrik Willem de Klerk and Kofi Annan. We hope the Peace Prize may be an inspiration for positive change in your beloved Kenya, in Africa, and in the many countries in the world that need to hear your voice. Congratulations on the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004.
Wangari Maathai was born in 1940 in the provincial capital Nyeri, north of Nairobi and within sight of mighty Mount Kenya. Most unusually for African girls from the provinces, she received higher education in Kenya. On completing her Kenyan education, she went to the United States, where she took a Bachelor's and a Master's degree. In 1971 she became the first woman in Kenya to take a doctorate, subsequently becoming the first female professor at the University of Nairobi.
As a biologist, she saw the problems that deforestation and soil erosion were causing in rural areas, especially for the women who do most of the physical work. Grazing areas for livestock were being destroyed. The women were having to go further and further in search of wood for cooking. In 1977 Maathai took an important decision. She resigned from her chair, and on the 5th of June, World Environment Day, she planted nine trees in her backyard and founded the Green Belt Movement. Its aim was to restore Africa's forests and put an end to the poverty that deforestation was causing.
In the 1980s, Maathai became the Chairperson of the National Council of Women, and her successes with tree-planting and political campaigning for women brought her into conflict with the authorities. She thus also became one of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement. When the government wanted to build a 62-storey skyscraper in Uhuru Park, the only park in the centre of Nairobi, Maathai organized the protests thanks to which the building plans were abandoned. The struggles for the environment, for democracy and for women's rights all came together to form a whole. In due course many men also joined her movement. Maathai's many initiatives exposed her to harassment. She was repeatedly sent to prison; she was attacked with tear gas and clubbed. The government met with little success in its efforts to curb this awkward woman. Maathai became internationally known, and won numerous prizes for her work. She was elected to Parliament in 2002, the year when Daniel arap Moi finally had to relinquish power, after subjecting the country to increasingly authoritarian rule ever since 1978. In 2003, in the broad coalition government that took over, Maathai was appointed Deputy Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife.
You are the first woman from Africa to be honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. You will also be the first African from the vast region between South Africa and Egypt to receive the prize. You stand as an example and a source of inspiration to everyone in Africa who is fighting for sustainable development, democracy and peace. You are an outstanding role model for all women in Africa and the rest of the world. You bravely opposed the oppressive regime in Kenya. Your unique modes of action put the spotlight on political oppression both nationally and internationally.
You combine science, commitment, active politics, and faith in God. Beyond simply preserving the existing environment, your strategy is to safeguard and strengthen the foundations for sustainable development. Your goal is to protect God's creation "so that this earth can become the Garden of Eden that God created". From 1950 to 2000, Kenya lost 90 per cent of its forests. You founded the Green Belt Movement, in which over a period of nearly thirty years you have mobilised poor women to plant thirty million trees. Your methods have also been adopted in other countries. We are all witnesses to how deforestation and forest loss have led to desertification in Africa and threatened many other regions of the world – also in Europe. Protecting forests to stop desertification is a major step towards strengthening our common global environment. Through education, family planning, nutrition, and the fight against corruption, the Green Belt Movement is creating conditions for development at grass-root level.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has for a long time maintained that there are many different paths to peace. The Committee's peace concept is in other words a broad one. This explains why many different categories of persons and organizations have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Statesmen and politicians can contribute at the international, the regional and the national level, and many have been awarded the prize. Major humanitarian organizations, and individuals engaged in humanitarian work, have also been recognized. Humanitarian work must in the highest degree be seen as promoting the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel speaks in his will. The many awards to those who have worked for disarmament or arms control relate directly to the "abolition or reduction of standing armies" that Nobel also mentions. In recent decades, the Nobel Committee has made human rights a central element of the definition of peace. There were many warnings against such a broadening of the concept of peace. Today there are few things peace researchers and other scholars are readier to agree on than precisely that democracy and human rights advance peace. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has believed so for over forty years, if not indeed much longer.
This year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has evidently broadened its definition of peace still further. Environmental protection has become yet another path to peace. Let me be quick to add that Wangari Maathai has been a leading spokeswoman for democracy and human rights, and especially women's rights, both under Daniel arap Moi and in today's Kenya. In this connection she stands firmly on the same ground as many earlier Laureates. What is so impressive about Maathai's work is its comprehensiveness. But it was the Committee's own decision to emphasise its environmental dimension. So what in fact is the relationship between the environment and peace?
Most people would probably agree that there are connections between peace on the one hand and an environment on the other in which scarce resources such as oil, water, minerals or timber are quarrelled over. The Middle East is full of disputes relating to oil and water. Clearly, not everyone outside the region has appreciated the importance to Arab-Israeli relations of the conflicts over the waters of the Jordan, Litani, Orontes and other rivers. Competition for minerals has been an important element of several conflicts in Africa in recent years. Competition for timber has figured prominently in Liberia, in Indonesia and in Brazil. Present-day wars and conflicts take place not so much between as within states.
But where does tree-planting come in? When we analyse local conflicts, we tend to focus on their ethnic and religious aspects. But it is often the underlying ecological circumstances that bring the more readily visible factors to the flashpoint. Consider the conflict in Darfur in the Sudan. What catches the eye is that this is a conflict between Arabs and Africans, between the government, various armed militia groups, and civilians. Below this surface, however, lies the desertification that has taken place in the last few decades, especially in northern Darfur. The desert has spread southwards, forcing Arab nomads further and further south year by year, bringing them into conflict with African farmers. In the Philippines, uncontrolled deforestation has helped to provoke a rising against the authorities. In Mexico, soil erosion and deforestation have been factors in the revolt in Chiapas against the central government. In Haiti, in Amazonas, and in the Himalayas, deforestation and the resulting soil erosion have contributed to deteriorating living conditions and caused tension between population groups and countries. In many countries deforestation, often together with other problems, leads to migration to the big cities, where the lack of infrastructure is another source of further conflict.
Can all this not be said more simply? Maathai herself has put it like this: "We are sharing our resources in a very inequitable way. We have parts of the world that are very deprived and parts of the world that are very rich. And that is partly the reason why we have conflicts." Wars and conflicts certainly have many other causes, too. But who would deny that inequitable distribution, locally and internationally, is relevant in this connection? I predict that within a few decades, when researchers have developed more comprehensive analyses of many of the world's conflicts, the relation between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.
Another thing that needs to be said in this context is that sooner or later, in order to meet environmental problems, there will have to be international cooperation across all national boundaries on a much larger scale than we have seen up to now. We live on the same globe. We must all cooperate to meet the world's environmental challenges. Together we are strong, divided we are weak.
Not long ago I was invited to the village school where I come from to tell the pupils about Peace Prize Laureate Maathai. Afterwards the pupils planted a tree in the school garden – a peace tree. There was ceremony in the schoolyard. Let me challenge schools in Africa, in Norway and in the rest of the world to plant a tree – a peace tree – in their school gardens. That is how concrete the peace concept can be. Children can understand it!
The Norwegian poet Halldis Moren Vesaas has put it so beautifully in her poem "The woman is planting":
The woman is planting a tree in the world.
On her knees, like someone in prayer,
Among the remains of the many trees
That the storm has broken down.
She must try again, perhaps one at last
Will be left to grow in peace.
And this is how Moren Vesaas ends the poem:
She sees the hands outspread on the earth
As if trying to impose her calm
On its threatening tremors. Oh earth, be still,
Be still, so my tree can grow.
In its award to you, Wangari Maathai, of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004, the Nobel Committee wishes to pay a special tribute to and express special support for the women of Africa and in the rest of the world. Africa's women have at all times been of the greatest importance to the development of the continent. They have borne the heaviest burdens. The woman has worked the land. Right up to the present, she has done about 80 per cent of the work of food production. Once the man has cleared the land, the rest is the woman's work. She has gone out into the fields at dawn, she has hoed, she has sowed, she has watered, she has weeded, she has harvested. From the harvest she prepares the food for her family. She has also done much of the work with the livestock. She has walked and walked, in erect dignity – with a child on her back and a load on her head. Millions of women still walk and walk to find fuel for their cooking pots and water for their housekeeping.
Going to market is also the women's province in Africa. As they are responsible for the food for their families, women organize their work so that they can exchange what they produce and need at the market. Women bear an average of six children each, a heavy strain under the prevailing living conditions, with no men in one third of all households. Women have moreover been particularly hard hit by Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic. No doubt Wangari Maathai will in the years ahead be at the forefront of Africa's fight against HIV/AIDS.
Neither states nor families in Africa have given priority to providing equal educational opportunities for girls and boys, for women and men. Where college and university education is concerned, fewer than 10 per cent of the age group are students, compared to over half in many Western countries. Only one quarter of the students taking higher education in Africa are women. More extensive education for women offers a vast potential for improving African living conditions. Wangari Maathai has shown us what rich fruit education can bear.
Africa's women have borne heavy burdens. But then Africa has also brought forth strong women. One of the strongest stands before us here today. Sometimes we all feel that the challenges confronting us are simply too great. That is when we need optimism. It is easier to be optimistic if we take the long view. Few people have put this better than Mahatma Gandhi: "When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always."
Today, in celebrating Wangari Maathai as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for 2004, I have made my own little poem, inspired by a speech by Prime Minister Tony Blair:
Let us make Africa a better place to live.
Let us make Africa a better place to grow children.
Let us make Africa a better place to get old.
Let us make Africa a better place to lead a full life.
Let us make Africa the millennium continent.
Let us make peace with justice in the whole world.
TWAKUPONGEZA, TUNASEMA ASANTE SANA
(Swahili: we thank you, and thank you so much.)"
The other day I noticed a sticker of a flag on the bumper of a car. It was indeed the flag of Kenya which is recognizable for the traditional shield in the center. A proud patriot no doubt. And may I add Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika.
Wangari Maathai – Nobel Lecture
Your Royal Highnesses
Honourable Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen
I stand before you and the world humbled by this recognition and uplifted by the honour of being the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate.
As the first African woman to receive this prize, I accept it on behalf of the people of Kenya and Africa, and indeed the world. I am especially mindful of women and the girl child. I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership. I know the honour also gives a deep sense of pride to our men, both old and young. As a mother, I appreciate the inspiration this brings to the youth and urge them to use it to pursue their dreams.
Although this prize comes to me, it acknowledges the work of countless individuals and groups across the globe. They work quietly and often without recognition to protect the environment, promote democracy, defend human rights and ensure equality between women and men. By so doing, they plant seeds of peace. I know they, too, are proud today. To all who feel represented by this prize I say use it to advance your mission and meet the high expectations the world will place on us.
This honour is also for my family, friends, partners and supporters throughout the world. All of them helped shape the vision and sustain our work, which was often accomplished under hostile conditions. I am also grateful to the people of Kenya - who remained stubbornly hopeful that democracy could be realized and their environment managed sustainably. Because of this support, I am here today to accept this great honour.
I am immensely privileged to join my fellow African Peace laureates, Presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Chief Albert Luthuli, the late Anwar el-Sadat and the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
I know that African people everywhere are encouraged by this news. My fellow Africans, as we embrace this recognition, let us use it to intensify our commitment to our people, to reduce conflicts and poverty and thereby improve their quality of life. Let us embrace democratic governance, protect human rights and protect our environment. I am confident that we shall rise to the occasion. I have always believed that solutions to most of our problems must come from us.
In this year’s prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has placed the critical issue of environment and its linkage to democracy and peace before the world. For their visionary action, I am profoundly grateful. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come. Our work over the past 30 years has always appreciated and engaged these linkages.
My inspiration partly comes from my childhood experiences and observations of Nature in rural Kenya. It has been influenced and nurtured by the formal education I was privileged to receive in Kenya, the United States and Germany. As I was growing up, I witnessed forests being cleared and replaced by commercial plantations, which destroyed local biodiversity and the capacity of the forests to conserve water.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
In 1977, when we started the Green Belt Movement, I was partly responding to needs identified by rural women, namely lack of firewood, clean drinking water, balanced diets, shelter and income.
Throughout Africa, women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families. As a result, they are often the first to become aware of environmental damage as resources become scarce and incapable of sustaining their families.
The women we worked with recounted that unlike in the past, they were unable to meet their basic needs. This was due to the degradation of their immediate environment as well as the introduction of commercial farming, which replaced the growing of household food crops. But international trade controlled the price of the exports from these small-scale farmers and a reasonable and just income could not be guaranteed. I came to understand that when the environment is destroyed, plundered or mismanaged, we undermine our quality of life and that of future generations.
Tree planting became a natural choice to address some of the initial basic needs identified by women. Also, tree planting is simple, attainable and guarantees quick, successful results within a reasonable amount time. This sustains interest and commitment.
So, together, we have planted over 30 million trees that provide fuel, food, shelter, and income to support their children’s education and household needs. The activity also creates employment and improves soils and watersheds. Through their involvement, women gain some degree of power over their lives, especially their social and economic position and relevance in the family. This work continues.
Initially, the work was difficult because historically our people have been persuaded to believe that because they are poor, they lack not only capital, but also knowledge and skills to address their challenges. Instead they are conditioned to believe that solutions to their problems must come from ‘outside’. Further, women did not realize that meeting their needs depended on their environment being healthy and well managed. They were also unaware that a degraded environment leads to a scramble for scarce resources and may culminate in poverty and even conflict. They were also unaware of the injustices of international economic arrangements.
In order to assist communities to understand these linkages, we developed a citizen education program, during which people identify their problems, the causes and possible solutions. They then make connections between their own personal actions and the problems they witness in the environment and in society. They learn that our world is confronted with a litany of woes: corruption, violence against women and children, disruption and breakdown of families, and disintegration of cultures and communities. They also identify the abuse of drugs and chemical substances, especially among young people. There are also devastating diseases that are defying cures or occurring in epidemic proportions. Of particular concern are HIV/AIDS, malaria and diseases associated with malnutrition.
On the environment front, they are exposed to many human activities that are devastating to the environment and societies. These include widespread destruction of ecosystems, especially through deforestation, climatic instability, and contamination in the soils and waters that all contribute to excruciating poverty.
In the process, the participants discover that they must be part of the solutions. They realize their hidden potential and are empowered to overcome inertia and take action. They come to recognize that they are the primary custodians and beneficiaries of the environment that sustains them.
Entire communities also come to understand that while it is necessary to hold their governments accountable, it is equally important that in their own relationships with each other, they exemplify the leadership values they wish to see in their own leaders, namely justice, integrity and trust.
Although initially the Green Belt Movement’s tree planting activities did not address issues of democracy and peace, it soon became clear that responsible governance of the environment was impossible without democratic space. Therefore, the tree became a symbol for the democratic struggle in Kenya. Citizens were mobilised to challenge widespread abuses of power, corruption and environmental mismanagement. In Nairobi ’s Uhuru Park, at Freedom Corner, and in many parts of the country, trees of peace were planted to demand the release of prisoners of conscience and a peaceful transition to democracy.
Through the Green Belt Movement, thousands of ordinary citizens were mobilized and empowered to take action and effect change. They learned to overcome fear and a sense of helplessness and moved to defend democratic rights.
In time, the tree also became a symbol for peace and conflict resolution, especially during ethnic conflicts in Kenya when the Green Belt Movement used peace trees to reconcile disputing communities. During the ongoing re-writing of the Kenyan constitution, similar trees of peace were planted in many parts of the country to promote a culture of peace. Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. For example, the elders of the Kikuyu carried a staff from the thigi tree that, when placed between two disputing sides, caused them to stop fighting and seek reconciliation. Many communities in Africa have these traditions.
Such practises are part of an extensive cultural heritage, which contributes both to the conservation of habitats and to cultures of peace. With the destruction of these cultures and the introduction of new values, local biodiversity is no longer valued or protected and as a result, it is quickly degraded and disappears. For this reason, The Green Belt Movement explores the concept of cultural biodiversity, especially with respect to indigenous seeds and medicinal plants.
As we progressively understood the causes of environmental degradation, we saw the need for good governance. Indeed, the state of any county’s environment is a reflection of the kind of governance in place, and without good governance there can be no peace. Many countries, which have poor governance systems, are also likely to have conflicts and poor laws protecting the environment.
In 2002, the courage, resilience, patience and commitment of members of the Green Belt Movement, other civil society organizations, and the Kenyan public culminated in the peaceful transition to a democratic government and laid the foundation for a more stable society.
Excellencies, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
It is 30 years since we started this work. Activities that devastate the environment and societies continue unabated. Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.
In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.
That time is now.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has challenged the world to broaden the understanding of peace: there can be no peace without equitable development; and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space. This shift is an idea whose time has come.
I call on leaders, especially from Africa, to expand democratic space and build fair and just societies that allow the creativity and energy of their citizens to flourish.
Those of us who have been privileged to receive education, skills, and experiences and even power must be role models for the next generation of leadership. In this regard, I would also like to appeal for the freedom of my fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi so that she can continue her work for peace and democracy for the people of Burma and the world at large.
Culture plays a central role in the political, economic and social life of communities. Indeed, culture may be the missing link in the development of Africa. Culture is dynamic and evolves over time, consciously discarding retrogressive traditions, like female genital mutilation (FGM), and embracing aspects that are good and useful.
Africans, especially, should re-discover positive aspects of their culture. In accepting them, they would give themselves a sense of belonging, identity and self-confidence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is also need to galvanize civil society and grassroots movements to catalyse change. I call upon governments to recognize the role of these social movements in building a critical mass of responsible citizens, who help maintain checks and balances in society. On their part, civil society should embrace not only their rights but also their responsibilities.
Further, industry and global institutions must appreciate that ensuring economic justice, equity and ecological integrity are of greater value than profits at any cost.
The extreme global inequities and prevailing consumption patterns continue at the expense of the environment and peaceful co-existence. The choice is ours.
I would like to call on young people to commit themselves to activities that contribute toward achieving their long-term dreams. They have the energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future. To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and our future.
The holistic approach to development, as exemplified by the Green Belt Movement, could be embraced and replicated in more parts of Africa and beyond. It is for this reason that I have established the Wangari Maathai Foundation to ensure the continuation and expansion of these activities. Although a lot has been achieved, much remains to be done.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
As I conclude I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs’ eggs, believing they were beads which I could adorn myself. But every time I put my little fingers under them they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents.
Today, over 50 years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water, which is not always clean, and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder.
Thank you very much.
Polfoto 10-12-2004 Norwegian Crown prince Haakon, left, watches as Nobel Peace Price laureate Wangari Maathai from Kenya, center, receives a torch from 12-year-old Sunniva Heen Jacobsen in Oslo, Norway, Friday, Dec. 10, 2004. Together they lit the "Save the Children" peace flame outside the Oslo Town Hall. Maathai will receive the Nobel Peace Prize Friday during a ceremony in the Oslo Town Hall attended by the Norwegian royal family. (AP Photo/ Erik Johansen / SCANPIX)
Polfoto 10-12-2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai from Kenya, second right, poses with Norway's crown prince Haakon, Queen Sonja, from left, and King Harald V, right, at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, Friday Dec. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/ Cornelius Poppe, Pool)
Polfoto 10-12-2004 Nobel Peace show host Oprah Winfrey smiles in the Oslo Town Hall where Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai of Kenya is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Friday, Dec. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/Bjorn Sigurdson, POOL)
Polfoto 10-12-2004 Wangari Maathai from Kenya receives the Nobel Peace Prize from Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes in the Oslo City Hall Friday Dec. 10, 2004. (AP Photo/ Terje Bendiksby / SCANPIX)
Another one from Polfoto
Nobel Prices without Mette-Marit and Madelaine.They are both ill.Less glamourous.
Queen Sonja looked really old today.
Yes, less glamourous and that black suit of Sonja´s was a little too black for me. Depressing looking.
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