Look at the video of the President Jacques Chirac (in French)
Members of the Jury,
I would like to thank you all for coming. Your presence here is a sign of hope, of hope for peace.
One year ago, as we were creating the Fondation, we all came to the same conclusion. We agreed that the lack of serious dialogue between cultures would lead to new conflicts. We also agreed that the degradation of natural resources as well as poverty had created unbearable situations: too many men and women without access to water, too many men and women with no food safety whatsoever; too many men and women with no access to high quality medication. These situations carry the seed of future conflicts. Together, we deplored the state of things: the majority of peace processes no longer function. Generalized mistrust left little room for preventive diplomacy to succeed.
A new desire for dialogue between populations and cultures is developing throughout the world. Confrontations between civilizations are no longer considered inevitable. Imposing peace or democracy through the use of arms is outdated.
Pleas for reasons are starting to be heard from Lebanon, Kurdistan, Iraq. Certain misunderstandings, resulting from an international climate of aggression, will perhaps have a chance of being resolved. More and more of us are convinced that the future necessarily includes new solidarity between populations. All of these factors favor preventive efforts
I believe such efforts between communities within each State is a vital necessity. As the world opens, identities and demands everywhere are becoming more radical. Unrelated situations are constructed so as to resonate one with another. Those who feel disdained or misunderstood find in world conflicts yet more fuel for their anger. Violence and intolerance are hiding under new pretexts. The distress and confusion of the young and the poor are on the rise. Old complaints, buried under memories, are once again full of vigor.
Preventive efforts are also necessary between nations.
- To prevent a new arms race and nuclear proliferation that nobody will be able to stop.
- To prevent new interference and attempts at destabilization; the general population ultimately pays the price.
Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, far too many countries still live in a state of war with their neighbors.
So yes, like you, I believe in the patience of those who engage in mediation and conflict prevention.
They do not attract media attention. However, their preventive efforts deserve better than anonymity:
- because they embody useful examples of commitment
- because they are models for today’s youths
- because they offer experiences that can be reproduced elsewhere.
We affirmed it a year ago. We will not idly stand here watching future conflicts take shape; the Fondation now exists. It is active and alive; we have already accomplished much work. The Conflict Prevention Award has been launched.
I thank you dear friends for once again standing by my side as we learn how to best encourage international interest in conflict prevention. We stand faithfully and modestly alongside those who have already achieved great milestones in the task at hand.