'Peace Has No Finishing Line'

Article excerpt

The most notable advocate for peace and democratization in Central America remains Oscar Arias, president of Costa Rica from 1986 until 1990. Following is an excerpt from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10, 1987.

When you chose to honor me with this prize, you chose to honor a land of peace: you chose to honor Costa Rica. I am most grateful for this recognition of our search for peace. All of us in Central America are grateful.

No one knows better than the honorable members of this committee that this prize is a signal to the world that you wish to promote the initiative for peace in Central America. With your decision, you are contributing to the possibilities for its success; you are declaring how well you know that the search for peace can never end, that it is a permanent cause needing the genuine support of genuine friends, of people with the courage to promote change toward peace despite all obstacles.

Peace is not a matter of prizes or of trophies. It is not the product of a victory, nor of a command. Peace is the result of innumerable decisions made by many persons in many lands. It is an attitude, a way of life, a way of solving problems and of resolving conflicts. It cannot be forced on the smallest nation, nor can it be imposed by the largest. It can neither ignore our differences nor overlook our common interests. It requires us to work and live together.

Peace is not only a matter of noble words and Nobel lectures. We already have an abundance of words, glorious words, inscribed in the declarations of the United Nations, the World Court, the Organization of American States, and a network of international treaties and laws. …