Nobel Laureates Call for Peace, Slam Bush; Initiative Aimed at Youths; U.S.Policy Attacked

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 17, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Nobel Laureates Call for Peace, Slam Bush; Initiative Aimed at Youths; U.S.Policy Attacked


Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

DENVER - Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners gathered here this weekend to issue a worldwide call for peace and understanding toward all people, with the possible exception of those in the Bush administration.

The laureates, who met here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of PeaceJam, an international education organization, opened the three-day event by excoriating the White House for its invasion of Iraq and subsequent increases in military spending.

"I honestly wonder how any of them can think for a nanosecond how having civil war in Iraq has made us safer," said Jody Williams of Vermont, who won the peace prize in 1997 for her work toward clearing land mines.

Billed as the largest U.S. gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners in history, the event served as a starting point for the laureates' "Global Call to Action," an initiative aimed at urging young people to record 1 billion "acts of peace" over the next 10 years.

About 3,000 young people from 31 countries attended the event, held at the University of Denver.

The event's biggest names, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, steered clear of politics. The Dalai Lama was greeted like a rock star yesterday before a one-hour speech in which he urged young people to embrace globalization.

"There are no national boundaries. The whole globe is becoming one body," the Tibetan spiritual leader said. "In these circumstances, I think war is outdated destruction of your neighbor is actually destruction of yourself."

At a press conference Friday, however, other peace prize winners criticized U.S. foreign policy, saying the focus should be on social and economic justice.

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the 1980 winner for his Latin American human-rights work, took it a step further with a personal shot at President Bush.

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