The Bogotá Chamber of Commerce (CCB) and the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates launched today the official preparations towards the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, an event to be held in the Colombian capital city between February 2nd and 5th, 2017, and for which more than 16 Nobel Peace Prize Winners have already confirmed their attendance. The full attendance list will be revealed short before the event.
Some of the Nobel Peace Laureates who have confirmed their attendance to the event include former presidents: Mikhail Gorbachev, of the former Soviet Union; Oscar Arias, of Costa Rica; Lech Walesa, of Poland; and Frederik de Klerk, of South Africa. Also confirmed are Lord David Trimble; Ireland’s former Prime Minister; José Ramos-Horta, former president of Timor Leste; Shirin Ebadi, first woman jurist in Iran; Yemen human rights activist Tawakkul Karman, founder of Women Journalists Without Chains and the collective of institutions “Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet”, recognized for their role in the construction of peace in the North-African country.
The Summit is one of the most relevant and renowned events related to the construction of peace and the search for tools to end warfare, foster disarmament and promote world reconciliation. It is a meeting point for top social, enterprise and political leaders, as well as all members of the society who wants to be socially involved in the processes of peacebuilding and students and representatives from many countries. This will be the first time since its creation in 1999, that the Summit will be held in Latin America.
CCB Executive President, Monica de Greiff, said that the Summit will be held in Bogotá while Colombia is experiencing a very special historic moment. She added that this is a unique opportunity for Colombians to learn from those who have already traversed the path to peace, and who wish to share their experience to help achieve this goal around the world.
“The Summit provides an opportunity to promote an inclusive and participative dialogue that will foster the reflection required for the construction of a society reconciled”, points out the CCB’s President. She also added “The invitation is to participate in this global event that belongs to all Colombians”.
The CCB led the city’s nomination as the venue for this event, with support from the Bogotá and Cundinamarca Conventions Bureau. The nomination and election process lasted close to one year.
The Mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa; Ekaterina Zagladina, president of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and Monica de Greiff, Executive President of the CCB, were all present at the announcing ceremony, which was held at the Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation in Bogotá.
When asked about the importance of choosing Bogotá as the venue for the 2017 Summit, Ekaterina Zagladina, President of the Summit’s Permanent Secretariat stated: “As Nobel Peace Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches us that it is our common responsibility to promote basic human values, love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and dialogue. The Nobel Peace Summit’s mission is exactly that. The Summit will bring together the minds and the inspiring stories of Nobel Peace Laureates, Peace Laureate Organizations as well as civil society leaders, to address issues that affect our common wellbeing. Of particular relevance to Colombians it will share examples of courage and non-violence that have helped other nations when building democratic paths towards social justice and sustainable peace. We look forward to the 16th Summit in Bogota with a view to engage all members of society: key champions of peace.”
Pathway to the Summit
The CCB began nominating the capital of Colombia as the venue for the event since late 2015, when it approached the Summit’s Organization in Rome, to learn about the requirements to host such an important event.
As a representative of the private sector, the Chamber assumed the challenge of leading the nomination efforts and highlighting the city’s strengths and advantages to host such an important event, which requires the highest coordination in terms of security and logistics, as well as the highest standards in terms of events infrastructure. This was soon followed by the Mayorship of Bogotá and the National Government who gave this effort their full support in order to ensure the safety of all attendants.
After the nomination was formalized, a group of officials belonging to the Summit’s organization, led by its president, visited the city in May to personally assess the infrastructure available for the event, and to learn more about the country’s current context.
During the visit, the Permanent Secretariat was able to see the city and each of the places where the event will be held in February of 2017. Furthermore, they were able to talk to public and private organizations dedicated to the construction of peace and with stakeholders who, one way or another, have been directly involved in the local conflict, who then shared their expectations regarding a potential end to the war that has scourged the country. Sensing the strong will of a country who wishes to put an end to decades of violence was a decisive factor in choosing Bogotá as the venue for the event.
The Summit is expected to trigger mass participation and mobilization by the Colombian people towards the peace building process in the country.
According to figures and information obtained from the event’s previous editions, an average of 20 Nobel Peace Laureates usually attend the Summit, along with around one hundred broadly renowned social leaders from all over the world. The city will probably also receive close to 300 top university students from all over the world, 700 delegates and 150 social organizations from all global origins.
The Summit has been held annually since 1999, and has been hosted by landmark cities for world peace, such as Rome, Paris, Berlin, Hiroshima, Warsaw, Chicago, and Barcelona.