- the Fondation Chirac Prize went to Imam Muhammad Ashafa and to Pastor James Wuye for their efforts in Nigeria;
- the Special Jury Prize went to Dr. Park Jae-Kyu for his work on the Korean peninsula.
See the video from the ceremony
Michel Camdessus’ speech
See the video of his speech (in French):
Mr. President of the Republic,
Mr. President of the Fondation Chirac,
Mr. UN Secretary-General,
Mr. Rector of the Academy of Paris,
Dear fellow jury members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the honour to present the Fondation Chirac’s Conflict Prevention Prize, awarded for the first time today.
Mr. President of the Republic, you have known the Fondation’s main goals since its official launch, which you saluted, on June 9, 2008.
Our President and founder, while examining the three major threats to peace and the very survival of our planet, dangers that are no longer so easily ignored:
- The danger of standardising our cultures,
- The danger of destroying our environment,
- The scandal of poverty,
decided to establish five vital axes for the Fondation’s first efforts:
- Access to water and sanitation,
- Access to quality medication and health care,
- The fight against deforestation and desertification,
- The preservation of cultural diversity,
- And above all, conflict prevention.
Conflict resolution is admirably saluted and humanity’s most important causes are rewarded by the Nobel Foundation. Our Honour committee includes one of its most illustrious laureates, Kofi Annan, alongside four other recipients:
– Rigoberta Menchu (1992),
– Wangari Muta Maathai (2004),
– Muhammad Yunus (2006) et
– Rajendra Pachauri (2007).
However, we deemed it useful to create a prize that very specifically strives to encourage conflict prevention. What is the reason behind this?
Well, we have been aware of its importance since the Peace Agenda proposed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali who made it a separate category within international action. In the world, men, women, and numerous institutions confront conflicting situations daily. They work at defusing and extinguishing pockets of hate that could at any moment transform into violent confrontations. To do this, they take risks. The Fondation Chirac Prize raises awareness, rewards their efforts, and offers them additional means. Two forms of actions especially deserve to be rewarded.
The first – with the Special Jury Prize – is for individuals who within institutionalised diplomacy work for prevention by refusing to allow themselves to be shut up within confrontational determinisms, by looking to explore new paths, to invent unused methods of dialogue and reconciliation, to go beyond procedural inflexibility, or to do away with the absolutism of their predecessors. It is thanks to them that secular enmities are sometimes called into question, that the first bricks of the wall of hate are taken down. One could say that it is their duty as diplomats. True, but we are referring here with a select brand of diplomacy that requires the utmost free thinking, personal commitment, perseverance, abnegation, and courage.
We would like to distinguish such men and women with our Special Jury Prize. Dr Park Jae Kyu has shown how fruitful such methods can be.
However, there are other servants of conflict prevention. They are those forgotten by history in general because they are precisely those with no names, with no rank. Their lives end, often violently, before fame can grace them. They are aware of this risk and deliberately ignore it. Wherever peace is endangered, such individuals stand their ground; they attempt dialogues where hearts are closed; they commit to actions whose modesty can appear derisory. It is their humble efforts that in the end prevent conflicts from degenerating, sometimes even resulting in meetings and a return to peace. For this, they rally good will, foster courage in others, blaze paths of hope. Unfortunately, for lack of support, their efforts and these hopes often vanish, there where peace could have been saved.
You believed, Mr the President Jacques Chirac, that if we could manage to support some of them, we could help rid history of illusory inevitabilities, to give appeasement an unhoped for chance, and to launch new peace efforts. This prize was conceived from this conviction. The recipients the jury has recommended and whom you honour today are living proof of the capacity of anonymous individuals to stifle violence, including the most pernicious that take root in religious conflicts.
Indeed, the question is often asked: “Are religions a threat or a hope for our societies?” And we debate these words from one scholarly conference to another… Imam Mohamed Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye did not debate or attempt distinctions between messages of peace and proselytising passions. Coming from religious cultures that are violently opposed within their regional context, having experienced this violence first-hand, they made a radical change and rediscovered that to live together, the most important component was to love your neighbour regardless of who he may be, the first of commandments in the religions of the Book. They lay down their arms and started to work for fraternity. By doing so, these men of the cloth showed they were first and foremost simply men. They are men who apply to the letter the only duty that the charter for us all, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, imposes on all individuals: “Act towards each other in a spirit of fraternity”.
Mr. President of the Republic, Ladies and Gentlemen, here are the types of initiatives and individuals the Fondation Chirac will unfailingly strive to support.
President Jacques Chirac’s speech
See the video of his speech (in French)
Our world is facing serious upheavals.
The current economic and financial crisis heightens risks and exacerbates imbalances and inequalities. While its consequences are cruel for the most fragile segments of rich countries, they are dramatic for the poorest countries.
The food crisis, which currently affects one sixth of the world’s population, sadly highlights the fact that hundreds of millions of men, women and children are mired in a misery that is unworthy of the human condition.
Today, despite an increase in global wealth, poverty is omnipresent.
It is at our doors, at our neighbour’s, and particularly in Africa.
The G-20, led by the President of the French Republic, in an unprecedented cooperative effort, is trying to find answers worthy of the stakes involved. Other threats however persist and are sometimes worsening. The seeds of potential conflicts are germinating everywhere:
– Exacerbated or negated identities,
– Unequal access to water, food, and energy resources,
– Loss of meaning and cohesion in societies.
And yet, the international community, giving in to a feeling of powerlessness and sometimes to cynicism, adapts to open or latent conflicts, obvious or hidden injustices. In short, it has renounced.
Yes, to quote the well known saying, our world is great and terrible.
Great in all the promises it holds, terrible in all its scourges. First among the latter is War. War breeds all forms of poverty. Not only wars between peoples but also civil wars add dishonour and self-destruction to the violence.
I believe in the primacy of law over might. I believe in the virtue of dialogue. I believe in Humanity.
War is never a solution. Anything capable of eradicating its roots from the heart of our societies deserves our support and must become our first priority.
We must detect the embers of hate wherever they may smoulder and help those who can put them out, those who know how to clear misunderstandings, those who generate reconciliation before it is too late.
For all of these reasons, I wanted my Fondation to create a Prize for Conflict Prevention.
For war is not a phenomenon of the past. If Europe learned, after such barbarity, to live in peace for the past sixty years, let us not forget that war was crouched at our doorsteps not so long ago. Barely ten years ago, the Balkans were a hotspot.
The inherent risk of our global existence is to turn local conflicts into universal threats.
The world has become one, for better or for worse. In such a context “there are no little quarrels” as Amadou Hampaté Bâ said.
History has taught us that each major economic crisis increases the risk of destabilising the political realm and fanning latent conflicts.
Even if States have reacted more quickly and more efficiently than during the great Depression of the 1930s, the current financial crisis will leave its mark. The human toll is already high. Fragile equilibria are already disrupted.
The years to come carry great risks. We must be lucid and draw the appropriate conclusions in order to act.
This concerns us all and we must be even more vigilant.
I know the part you played dear Kofi ANNAN in furthering debate on conflict prevention amongst UN authorities, to define concepts and procedures such as continuous monitoring, early warning, mediation, and conciliation. Everywhere, regional organisations became more involved as did the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, headed by our friend, President Abdou Diouf.
We are grateful to all those who, in the name of States and international organisations, without ever being deterred by the difficulties, patiently try to appease internal or external tensions and to eliminate sources of possible conflicts.
However, peace efforts also need commitments of a larger nature.
More than ever, we need peace activists issued from civil society. Political action certainly needs vision and perspective; however it also needs to be relayed.
It needs purveyors.
It needs compassionate, intelligent men and women who, in contempt of prejudices, take risks for themselves and their loved ones.
They blaze new paths, ignoring the lazy logic of fatality.
The Fondation Chirac wants to honour these scouts, these sentinels with its Prize. In just a few moments, we will be discerning the very first recipients.
They embody hope. They fight against evil. They give hope a chance.
They prove that the best is possible.
They show that we can change the world.
They do it quietly…
… through example.
They demonstrate the force of non-violence.
They ground their efforts in dialogue and listening.
They use the simplest means: the strength of the spoken word and an outstretched hand.
The desire to live together that is so dear to our friend Andrea Riccardi.
It is only fair to recognize their efforts, to encourage them, to raise awareness of their efforts.
Because their patient work represents another form of diplomacy.
By serving human communities, they give credence to a form of action that Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mandela and so many others have used to further peace and reconciliation between men: a policy of “weak force”.
Peace is not a subject reserved for international conferences. Peace is sometimes as humble as a shared meal. It is built slowly in the hearts of men and women.
Is such a method infallible? Certainly not for we are in a field where personal interests, cruelty and intransigence are intertwined.
It is nevertheless a precious contribution to a civilisation which, at the beginning of the 21st century, is discovering its weaknesses.
Today, as we award the Fondation’s Prize for Conflict Prevention, we are also saluting this exemplary contribution to building a better world.
I would like to thank the experts and jury members that have accompanied us throughout the process of selecting the recipients.
I would also like to thank Mr. Naguib Sawiris for his support.
Finally, I would like to thank the Rector, Patrick Gérard, for welcoming us here in this temple of culture and civilisation, the Sorbonne.
The Special Jury Prize is awarded to Doctor PARK Jae Kyu, former Korean minister of reunification, untiring craftsman of dialogue with North Korea who opened the way to the reconciliation of the populations.
The Conflict Prevention Prize is awarded to Imam Mohammed Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye. Formerly, both were adversaries in a hostile antagonism, before questioning their use of violence and consecrating themselves to the reconciliation of the hearts and minds in a Nigeria rife with religious and ethnic fractures.
The dialogue they have instituted for the past few years continues to offer results and guide us.
We are indebted to the example of all three.
Allow me finally in these particular circumstances to pay my respectful homage to the great Claude Lévi Strauss, whose entire work was dedicated to showing that all civilisations deserved equal respect.
We are also inspired by his teachings.
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech
Mr. President – Jacques Chirac,
Mr. Secretary-General – Kofi Annan,
Madame Minister – Simone Veil,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
and – with your permission –
Jacques, it is I who am honoured to be with you here today. I am happy to meet with friends and honoured to be associated with the initiative that brings us together.
The creation of the Fondation Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention sets right a peculiar injustice. Those who work to resolve conflicts are regularly honoured, and rightly so. But those who endeavour to prevent these conflicts from breaking out in the first place generally go unnoticed. Their work is primarily carried out behind the scenes, but it reflects a commitment, a courage and – it must be said – a spirit of sacrifice that are just as worthy of our recognition. Is there not more merit in averting a conflict than in settling a conflict after it has become unavoidable?
I do not believe in foregone conclusions. Conflict, warfare and what is termed the “clash of civilisations” are not inevitable. They can be averted through dialogue, mutual respect and recognition of the equal right to dignity and justice – which you, Jacques, have fought for all your life.
The three distinguished people that you have chosen to honour have dedicated their lives to bringing about reconciliation.
Our two Nigerian laureates have demonstrated – in a country that sorely needs such proof – that people of different religions can live together in peace. There are, frankly, so few of you who believe in these ideas and strive to put them into practice that it behoves us to pay tribute to the courage and the spirit of peace that underpin your work.
Similarly, in the two Koreas you have shown that dialogue is a source of progress and peace in a part of the world where everything pushes you to confrontation. We experienced the same situation in Europe with the two Germanys.
You have all three demonstrated that it is the failure to understand others that generates demagogy, fear and violence.
Mr. President – Jacques – it comes as no surprise to me that the foundation that you set up has chosen to honour these three men. Dialogue and peace have always been central to your worldview.
Everyone is aware of your unremitting efforts across the world. Everyone remembers the decisive impetus you lent to the resolution of the crisis in the Balkans – the crisis that has now been mitigated but that must, to say the least, be kept under close scrutiny. Everyone remembers your unfailing commitment to the Middle East peace process. For a reason, incidentally, that I cannot understand and that I would like to discuss with you, it is not moving forward; why is this, when all the elements of peace, all the elements of a compromise, are clear to everyone and nothing has changed? Everyone is aware that the issue of settlements will be crucial, that the issue of borders will be vital and that the issue of the status of Jerusalem, where, since time immemorial, men and women of different religions have always lived, is on the table. And yet, as during your Presidency, it is very difficult to set the peace process in motion. The endpoint is known, the protagonists are known and yet we mark time, as if paralysed, ignoring the fact that, after so much suffering, time is not on our side.
Everyone is aware of your decisive role in the Iraq issue in 2003, in which you got it right. Everyone is aware of your commitment to respect for multilateralism; and last but not least, everyone is aware of your contribution, in a continent that is dear to us – I refer to Africa, Kofi – to the success of the Artemis operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
You took action, Jacques, for the most part in close cooperation with Kofi Annan and with his support – in cahoots with him, in the affectionate sense of the term. Jacques, let me say to Kofi Annan that his action as United Nations Secretary-General was marked by debate and arguments. But when it comes down to it, I wonder whether it is not a good sign when the response to strong action by a United Nations Secretary-General is arguments rather than utter quietude. Any resemblance to the situation in France is purely coincidental. But frankly, Jacques, when one is in a position of responsibility and when one wants to get things done, there will always come a time when people fail to understand, when there is a debate – as Kofi Annan, who made conflict prevention one of the pillars of our collective security system, is perfectly aware.
I am also very happy to be here in the company of Simone Veil, who personifies the fight for the dignity of women and men and who pioneered a Europe of reconciliation. Jacques, it is not disrespectful to say that if one could add together our strength of character – yours, Kofi Annan’s, and mine – they would total about half of Simone Veil’s.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
Many efforts have been made to ensure peace. The world believed it could outlaw war. It institutionalised collective security with the League of Nations and then the United Nations. Early warning and prevention mechanisms were established in Europe, in Africa and elsewhere. A United Nations Peacebuilding Commission has been set up – which was no easy task.
Is this response sufficient? I say it is not. I say it is not because I believe that we have not done enough to translate our words into action and because I think, Jacques, that the world has not yet sufficiently taken on board the fact that we have moved into a new century. This is the 21st century and we are still making do with 20th century institutions.
In the 21st century NGOs, civil societies and foundations will play a vital role, Jacques, but we are going to have to think about, and do something about, global governance. Things cannot go on as they are.
At European level, finally, Europe will be emerging from the institutional debate that was so familiar to you, Jacques, and will finally acquire a stable Presidency. Having a driver for two and a half years does not solve everything. But without a driver, the car cannot move forward.
I also say that the United Nations cannot mark time, Kofi. What is this Security Council in which Africa, with its population of one billion, does not have a single permanent representative? This is a disgrace; it is unacceptable. It is inconceivable that the Security Council should deal with the issue of Africa while settling with the system of only having elected [African] members from time to time. Lastly, is it reasonable for the South American continent, with its 400 to 450 million inhabitants, not to have a single permanent member of the Security Council? Is it conceivable that we should influence the major issues in the world without a country that is important to the two of us, Jacques – Brazil? Does it make sense for India, which will in thirty years have a population of over one billion three hundred million, surpassing China’s, not to be a permanent member of the Security Council?
Similarly, Jacques, you often attended meetings of the G8, which had a purpose, but do we really think that we can regulate the global financial system, restore peace in the world and combat climate change by inviting the representatives of two and a half billion people to lunch at the end of a three-day summit, asking them to attend the final lunch and inviting the President of Mexico, the President of Brazil, the Prime Minister of India, the President of China and incidentally the President of South Africa to come see whether, ultimately, there might be a few scraps of decisions left to take? This makes no sense and if the G8 had remained stuck in its rut, the G5 would not have been penalised and instead we would have woken up one day and found that the G8 had been left off the G5 invitation list. (Applause) This is the reality of today’s world. The Mediterranean is another case in point. The world – and especially Europe – thought that by turning its back on the Mediterranean it could turn its back on the past, but in fact it was turning its back on the future. The issue of the southern and the northern rims is an absolutely crucial, absolutely essential issue. I believe in this union for the Mediterranean as a way to prevent conflict and I wonder if the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis could not better be resolved within the framework of the Mediterranean that we hold in common, rather than in other fora that have since 1949 demonstrated an inability to make any progress on the issue.
Ladies and gentlemen, the initiative that Jacques Chirac has taken is an extraordinarily positive and useful initiative. We must continue to act along these lines in order to achieve respect for the environment. Jacques, you were one of the first to recognise this when you stated, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, “The house is burning and this is an emergency, we must take action.” You saw to it that the French Constitution was amended to include the precautionary principle. Copenhagen is now a month and a half away and if France does not shoulder responsibility we will fail. Failure would be absolutely unacceptable. I would very much like for us to work with foundations such as yours to set up a World Environment Organisation, without which no success will be possible. Holding a summit is good, and agreeing on a statement at the end of a summit is possible, but who is to implement the decisions taken at the summit?
In conclusion I would add, Jacques, that a World Environment Organisation is the only way to respond positively to one of your concerns, the domination of a WTO that is emblematic of the most outrageous aspects of “pensée unique” market orthodoxy. I believe in free trade, as you do, and I believe in the harmful effects of protectionism, but we cannot judge everything by the criterion of trade law alone. If there is only the WTO, everything will be measured against that yardstick. But if there is a World Environment Organisation alongside the WTO, then international environmental law can be a part of the equation in settling trade disputes.
And we must talk about the need for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We must talk about it with our eyes wide open, and I can say as President of the Republic and commander in chief responsible for national security that France will never propagate the idea of nuclear weapons but that France will never forego its security. No country has done more than France to promote non-proliferation. But we, who have several hundred nuclear warheads, should not be the ones asked to make an additional effort when there are immense arsenals in the world.
And of course there is the issue of Human Rights. I have often heard you speak of this. Naturally we must not give an inch on our values and France would no longer be France if it did not defend Human Rights. But Human Rights and the struggle for Human Rights call for understanding others. Understanding is not weakness; it is a way to be effective. We have nothing to gain from weakness but neither do we stand to gain by humiliating others as we make progress on this issue.
This is a topic that we must come back to because I see many misperceptions in this debate on the part of those who think only of contracts and those who think only of Human Rights; there are too few people thinking about how to be effective in the action we take, and to be effective we must embark on different paths from the ones I see us on now.
You will have understood that I am very happy to be here. It is not often that one has an opportunity to congratulate an imam next to a pastor next to a Korean government minister, and it is not every day of the week that I have the pleasure of being with Jacques Chirac. In the end, this event is emblematic of our vision of a civilised and peaceable France; it is a demonstration of the continuity of responsibilities and of regard. This does not mean that we agree, or have agreed in the past, about everything (I read a good book that was recently published but this is not the time or place to promote it). I think that out of friendship and – why not say so – respect, I had a duty to be here.
Kofi Annan’s speech
See the video of Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Prize for Peace (2001):
Dr. Park Jae-Kyu’s speech
See the video of his speech:
I’d like to deeply thank the Foundation Chirac for their recognition of my lifelong work and efforts.
Receiving this award is a great, great honor, and I thank the members of the jury from the bottom of my heart.
I must say, back in the early 1970s, such recognition was unthinkable. Tension on the Korean Peninsula was high, as Korea was the frontier of the Cold War. I told my friends about my desire to dedicate my life to improving my countrymen’s knowledge and understanding of North Korea, and building a research institute to that effect. The majority said, “Are you a fool, Jae Kyu? Don’t do it!”
Well, I guess I have always been quite determined-or as my wife might say, “stubborn”-so I went against the grain, I followed my gut feelings, and I built the institute.
It pays to be determined, to be persistent, to never give up. Because today, the international system is very different from what it was in the 1960s and 70s.
And over the decades, I have been very lucky. I have been able to prepare myself for that change. I have been able to take advantage of critical junctures in history, and promote peace in my homeland and, hopefully, the region.
The climate on the Korean Peninsula has changed. While reconciliation between the two Koreas is still a work in progress, inter-Korean relations have improved markedly in countless ways. I have been lucky to have been a promoter and part of that improvement.
This Special Prize of the Jury confirms that my decision four decades ago was not a foolish decision.
I was inspired to pursue my beliefs, and overcome the obstacles in front of me, with enthusiasm and the spirit of challenge. Throughout the years, I have tried to instill that spirit and confidence in others, especially the young, because spirit and confidence boosts one’s determination.
Your recognition of my lifelong work is a source of new encouragement. I will continue to pursue my work, my dream. I can only hope that one day I will see all people from both sides of my divided homeland join hands in true reconciliation and peace.
Simone Veil’s speech
See the video of her speech:
Imam Ashafa’s speech
See the video of his speech:
In the name of Almighty Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful. May the best salvation be upon our noble prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) his companion and all sincere peace lovers and advocate worldwide.
I send the greeting of peace to you all in his historical moment at one of the most historical theatre Hall in Paris. Today mark another milestone in the cycle of our life journey toward a non-violent conflict free society.
Distinguish guests of honours, Excellencies and participants. I, coming out of the most populous black nation Nigeria with over 140milluion population and over 250 ethnic nationalities with diverse religious and cultural affiliations. A nation in Africa B.B.C world opinion poll revealed as the most religious nation in February 2003, and Bertelsmann foundation in Germany in 2007 rated Nigeria one of the most sensitive religious nation in the world.
Indeed, conflict prevention is a task that needs to go beyond government and its agencies. It is a collective responsibility. Hence, our faith based grassroots initiative to compliment the government and other agencies initiative not only in Nigeria but across the continent of Africa and beyond, to sustain and enhance the core-values of good governance and promoting the culture of peaceful coexistence and acceptance.
The present state of affairs undesirable in our nation and continent of Africa. Today majority play the game of politics without principle; professionalism without ethics; commerce without compassion; religion without morality; and governance without transparency and accountability.
Distinguish guest of honours the consequences manifested in today’s politics if bitterness that encourage elongation in power, political thuggery and violence in Africa; Abuse of trust in finance and justice industry; misused and abuse of religious that give birth to terrorism and extremism in the name of God; irresponsive government that promote clash of identities at ethnic, racial and or religious level which breed surtainance of the circle of violence, vengeance and mistrust in our society.
Our task at the Interfaith Mediation Centre is to create a paradigm shift. An alternative process at the grassroots level empowered by the positive energy within our religious tradition, that would enhance the creation of a non-violent pedagogy that enhance and inclusive and non-violent language of engagement for shifting ground such as:
From ‘I’ to ‘WE’
From US versus them to ‘US’ and ‘THEM’
From MONOLISTICS to MULTI-CULTURAL THINKING that enhance the culture of dialogue respect for dignity of difference and diversity.
RELIGION AND CONFLICT PREVENTION:
I as a Muslim peace activist I have realized that religion has been used misused and abused at different time in history as other instrument of social transformation has been used, misused and abused. I realized it positive potential outweigh those who manipulate religion for a mischievous negative course.
Islam empowered me to use it mechanism as a tool to advocate for transforming the enemy into a friend as revealed in the glorious Quran.
Nor can Goodness and evil be equal. repel evil with what is better; then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate Q41:34 – 36.
And the following verses that revealed the ideal quality of a good Muslim peace activist thus:
Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and when they are angry even then forgive; … the recompense for an injury is an injury equal there to in degree but if a person forgives and make reconciliation, His reward is due from Allah; for Allah loveth not those who do wrong (Quran 42:37 – 43)
Furthermore, Islam teaches me to acknowledge and promote the culture of diversity among all mankind thus:
O mankind! We created you from a single (Pair) of a male and a female, and made you into Nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (Not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most Righteous of you… (Quran 49:13)
And it finally affirmed that it adherence must be the Ambassadors of Peace:
And the servant of Allah most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humanity, and when the ignorant address them, they say “Peace” (Quran 24:63)
I look forward to a day when people would no more be condemned because of their religious or racial persuasion.
When people of faith; especially the silent majority would wake up to their responsibility as peace Ambassadors.
When people of faith would recover the core values of our religion in the hand of mischievous scholars and misguided half baked followers who use religion to dis-ease follow mankind.
When religious leaders would play their role as impartial arbiter between the governed and the government, promoting the culture of inclusive.
A day when government in the global south would invest more into peace and social welfare that enhance human dignity and the common good of all. Instead of arms and weapon of mass destruction. We pray and work earnestly for a day when there is a paradigm shift from the slogan;
If you want peace, prepare for war; to be change into if you want peace be ready to give peace.
A day when there is paradigm shift from destroying the enemy change into transforming the enemy into a friend.
A day when forgiveness replace vengeance in our polity. Then shall we retire from active engagement in this noble field of discipline.
A day when our international peace village would be officially inaugurated as the centre for promoting culture of peace and reconciliation across the continent of Africa and beyond.
I wish to conclude by re- asserting the word of Mr. Hang Kung of parliament of religion that: ‘there would be no peace between religions. Until there is dialogue among people of religion.
I want to reaffirm that: there would be no peace without justice, and no effective justices without compassion, and no compassion without forgiveness.
Today the world is blind by hate and vengeance; however noble peace laurel Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said that the only auditable is forgiveness. Hence, he asserted: “WITHOUT FORGIVENESS THERE IS NO FUTURE”
This is in covenant with the tradition of Islam as demonstration by beloved prophet of Islam Mohammed (PBUH)
“That we can not have faith until we love, and we cannot love until exchange the greeting of peace among people. (Hadith)
The path of being a peace maker is not all flowers of roses. It is full of challenges, threat to life excommunication from friend and pair groups, end loneliness.
However, Chirac foundation has given to us more tranquilizers, i.e. hope and encouragement to engage more in identifying the smoking gun that bread discord in our society at grassroots level.
The award is not only to me, my family and college but fellow Nigerian and peace makers motivated by positive tool within our religious traditions. Thanks to Almighty Allah and Foundation Chirac for this day.
In conclusion I wish to offer this prophetic prayer thus:
Oh Allah showing the truth and nothing but the truth and give us courage to follow it. And show us falsehood as nothing but falsehood and give us courage to abstain from falsehood, Amin
Pastor Wuye’s speech
See the video:
Your Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, former President Jacques Chirac, former Secretary General, United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, distinguished members of the Jury, other dignitaries here present.
I am greatly humbled by this award, coming at the peak of our various conflict prevention activities in the Northern Nigeria notorious for ethno-religious intolerance in the past three decades. I least expected that our little efforts toward a sustained and enduring peaceful coexistence globally will be recognized by an international reputable organization like Foundation Chirac. This Award will serve as an elixir and spur us to greater commitment and action in our peace building activities across the globe.
I am equally delighted that the award will further strengthen our Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) system both locally and internationally like in the Sudan, Kenya and Liberia to mention these few.
I owe this award to God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit, Jesus my spiritual Mentor and to the physicals, the Secretary General gentleman Kofi Anan, my hero and mentor and that of many African emerging youth leaders primarily and to our partners who have maintained an alloyed supports over the years, our colleagues unflinching and unrelenting supports, dedication and commitment to the core values of our Centre, the entire board, management and staff of Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria and the growing support of Initiative of Change worldwide and others to numerous to mention.
Finally, I will continue to work with religious and political leaders to eradicate religious motivated violence around the world, I will not like to see people incapacitated like me, because I carry in my body a mark of intolerance, an artificial arm. I will use this occasion to propose to the United Nation to fix this day as a Universal Sorry and Forgiveness Day, when nations worldwide, will ask each other for forgiveness, families will right the wrongs among themselves and say sorry, forgive. Say sorry to someone today. This is my remedy which I believe will forestall and prevent violent conflict.
I say thank you to my families, I say thank you to the government and people of Nigeria represented by the Ambassador, Gordon H. Bristol I say thank you to Foundation Chirac. I say “Merci beaucoup” and to the people of the world I say peace be with you always.