Peace Keeper Awards
- During the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Richard Branson received the Peace Summit Award. Kerry Kennedy of the United States was awarded the Social Activist Medal and Leyner Palacios of Colombia was given the Community Impact Medal. Four young people from different countries received the Turner Prize for Social Transformation.
- The event, organized by the Bogota Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, was attended by nearly 30 Laureates, national and international figures and more than 400 young people from five continents.
At the closing ceremony of the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held on February 4 in Corferias, the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit for Nobel Peace Laureates, the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Laureates recognized three important leaders and four young people for their contributions to the construction of world peace.
Monica de Greiff, Executive President of the BCC stated, "We recognize the work these people have done and encourage them to continue as an example for a world suffering from political and social difficulties. Their passion and commitment are an incentive calling on us to not lose hope and to unite as a society where entrepreneurs, citizens and governments work together to achieve a better world.”
Peace Summit Award - Richard Branson
Since 1999, at each edition of the summit, a committee has awarded the Peace Summit Prize to a prominent personality who, with their image and actions, has worked for world peace and well-being. This year the award was given to British businessman Richard Branson for his tireless philanthropic work.
During presentation of the award Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Juan Manuel Santos, said, "Branson is a great human being and has done outstanding work in two areas to end two wars: the war on drugs by applying common sense and practical solutions and climate change. We must join him in confronting the challenges we face today.”
Branson said the challenges facing the world today are a source of inspiration to seek alternatives. "Colombia has suffered war, the consequences of drug trafficking and has been on the brink of collapse. However, after 50 years, Colombians decided enough was enough. I have always believed that business can improve people's lives and that is why I call upon you, as Colombians, to see opportunities in this process of ending corruption, to invest in the infrastructure of communities and to create jobs for those giving up their weapons.”
Branson founded The Virgin Group in 1970, one of the most recognized brands in the tourism, mobile phone and entertainment industries worldwide. In 2004, he created Virgin Unite, which establishes connections between people and entrepreneurship to promote their growth. In 2007, he founded The Elders, a group of global leaders working for peace and human rights. He is a supporter of the United Nations and of many of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates' causes.
Social Activism Medal
During each summit two medals are also given to activists who have made great contributions in the field of human rights. This year on behalf of the Summit Committee, Laureate Kailash Sathiarty presented the Social Activist Medal to Kerry Kennedy of the United States, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, for her quest for social justice and her work advocating for human rights.
Sathiarty said, "Sometimes you feel incapable of saying anything. Today I'm going to talk about someone I met 22 years ago, a passionate social activist who has become the defender of the defenders. While people suffer violations of human rights, slavery, discrimination and violence in various ways, Kerry has always been at the forefront no matter the cost.”
In receiving the medal, Kerry stressed that despite the world experiencing a difficult and conflictive time, "Colombia is an oasis of optimism. I am happy to be in this country. Thanks to all who are creating peace, let us work together so that peace is not only for you, but for all."
Community Impact Medal
This award is given at each edition of the summit to a member of civil society from the host country who has led peacebuilding projects. This year in Colombia Laureate Tawakkul Karman recognized Leyner Palacios, who after losing dozens of relatives and friends in the FARC attack on the Bojayá church (Chocó), has been dedicated to rebuilding the social fabric of his town. He was nominated, along with four other victims, for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.
While presenting the medal Karman highlighted the work that Leyner has accomplished with his colleagues from the Bojayá Victims Committee. "He has worked in recent years as a leader of the community to promote spaces for dialogue and reconciliation in a secluded place in Colombia. He has sought to generate an impact and a space of reconciliation," affirmed Karman.
Leyner stated, "Thank you for this recognition. We have lived a great tragedy in Colombia and transformation is necessary. We want to tell our reality to the world so that others do not live what we have lived. We thank those who work for peace and reconciliation, and the victims for not proliferating violence”.
Turner Prize for Social Change
At each summit, students participating in the "Leading by Example" educational program have the opportunity to present their social transformation projects. The winner receives an economic recognition as a contribution to the development of the project. This is the Turner Prize for Social Change.
For the first time at this edition of the summit four young women were recognized for their proposals of community impact. After evaluating more than 250 proposals, the jurors chose four finalists and decided to award each a prize of US $ 2,500 to invest in their initiatives.
The winners were Andrea Zanabria, from Colombia, with "Tools to Construct Peace"; Chaeli Mycroft, from South Africa, with "How to Build an Inclusive Society"; Kehkashan Basu from the United Arab Emirates, with "Climate Change and Environmental Protection", and Ángela Serrano, from Colombia, with "How to Build an Inclusive Civil Society."
"The last few days have been inspiring. These young people have innovative and optimistic ideas for social change. They believe in a world without climate change, war, poverty, hunger or disease, a world without nuclear weapons and with clean oceans," said Laura Seydel Turner, president of the Captain Planet Foundation when presenting the awards.
Sculptures: Local Art
Bogota artist Felipe Ruiz (1984) was selected by the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and the Bureau of Bogota to create sculptures that were given to Richard Branson and Leyner Palacios. The artist used donated or seized weapons and transformed them into allegorical works of life and peace. His works are now in private collections and museums in the Dominican Republic, the United States, Argentina, Japan, Holland, and Colombia.