Lech Walesa and Tawakkul Karman confirm their attendance at the meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates to take place in Bogota

The former President of Poland and the Yemeni Human Rights activist will participate in the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the most important event in terms of peace building and coexistence in the world, taking place for the first time in Latin America.

 

Lech Walesa

Nobel Peace Prize in 1983

Just released from prison, Lech Walesa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his campaign for the right and freedom of association. The communist party had tried in vain to defeat it as a symbol of opposition to the monopoly of party power in government.

As a union leader, Walesa led negotiations with authorities during the 1980 strike, talks that led to the formation of the Solidarity movement, which brought together workers, intellectuals and the Catholic Church.

A year later the movement founded by Walesa was banned by the State, whose leaders claimed that the decision was a measure to prevent the Soviet invasion. After a couple of years Poland withdrew the veto and the country was gradually liberated. In 1989 'Solidarity' won the free elections and the following year Walesa was elected president of Poland.

The trajectory of this Polish President is important for Colombia due to his experience and the message he can bring for national unionism, which seeks to reinvent itself in times of transition from war to peace.

 

Tawakkul Karman

Nobel Peace Prize in 2011

Tawakkul Karman, a Yemen journalist and activist, is one of three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

At age 32, this mother of three created the Foundation ‘Women Journalists without Chains’ in 2005.

She has been an activist and defender of Human Rights and freedom of expression, while leading protests calling for freedom of political prisoners. The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored Karman for her "peaceful fight for the safety of women and their rights, as well as for her commitment to building peace."

The Nobel jury specifically praised Karman for her role "in the difficult circumstances that occurred before, during and after the 'Arab Spring' (...) and for her leadership in the fight for Women's Rights, as well as for democracy and peace in Yemen." 

The case of Tawakkul Karman is relevant for Colombia because although the right to free expression is outlined in the country's constitution, the rates of attacks on journalists by armed actors in some regions remain high. Karman's message will be a voice of encouragement for communicators who are persecuted for exercising their profession and who from day to day must coexist with this phenomenon.