22 October 2013

The anti-racist ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has played a visible and active role in the Nobel Peace Prize Winners’ Summit held in Warsaw on 20-23 October 2013.

The event has been entitled ‘Stand in Solidarity for Peace: Time to Act’ and it has gathered Noble Peace Laureates, human rights activists as well as hundreds of young people and media representatives from all over the world.

The following Nobel Prize Winners participate in the Warsaw debate sessions: His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV, former President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Irish peace activists Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, Muhammad Yunus, originator of the concept of microcredit, and Lech Walesa, former leader of Solidarity and President of Poland.

The meeting is also attended by representatives of Nobel Peace Prize awarded organizations: Permanent International Peace Bureau, Amnesty International, Pugwash Conferences, American Friends for Service Committee, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the European Union, the United Nations and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

A select group of renowned international NGOs, including the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, have run special information stalls and participated in the discussions. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ presented its experiences of hate crime monitoring and research on racist extremism as well as awareness-raising campaigns in the field of  popular culture such as ‘Music Against Racism’ and ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of the Stadiums’. It shared its stall with Campaign Against Homophobia. The UEFA Euro 2012 Social Responsibility project ‘RESPECT Diversity – Football Unites’ (conducted in Poland and Ukraine, together with the FARE Network) has attracted particular interest and received praise from the event’s participants. The FARE Network’s ‘Football People’ action weeks against racism and discrimination have been promoted too.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association anti-discrimination message harmonizes with the overall theme of the meeting: diversity and peace.

‘We should identify dangers, such as antisemitism, racism, ethnic cleansing, and work out such an agenda that no one would dare resort to any of these. What we need, is a global consensus, going beyond each nation, on the fundamental issues,’ said Lech Walesa. - ‘Peace is gravely threatened by inter-group fear. Racial, class and religious intolerance and prejudice are its mortal enemies,’ said F.W. De Klerk in his message to the participants. He had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 together with Nelson Mandela for their role in the ending of apartheid. Members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ presented the former South African president with the FARE Action Weeks poster depicting Nelson Mandela as an anti-racism icon. ‘There must never again be any discrimination based on race or ethnicity,’ said F.W. De Klerk in Warsaw.

Sharon Stone – actress, producer, director, writer, song writer, and activist - has been a special guest as the Peace Summit 2013 Award recipient. This was decided by the Committee that each year chooses the Man or Woman of Peace who is awarded by the Nobel Peace Laureates during each edition of the World Summit. During the past editions this prestigious award was received by: Sean Penn, Annie Lennox, Bono, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Bob Geldof, Roberto Baggio, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Roberto Benigni.

In addition, this year’s Peace Summit Medal for Social Activism was presented to Jerzy Owsiak. He is the main originator and director of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity as well as the founder of the Polish Woodstock Festival, Europe’s largest open-air rock festival. The 'NEVER AGAIN’ Association is proud to be closely associated with Jerzy Owsiak’s work and the Polish Woodstock Festival in particular, not least through the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign and the annual Anti-Racist Football Championships organized jointly at the festival site.

During her stay in Warsaw, Sharon Stone visited the newly built Museum of the History of Polish Jews - which cooperates with the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association - and she has also been invited to attend the Polish Woodstock Festival next year.

The history of the yearly World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates dates back to 1999, the year marking the first Summit held in Rome at the initiative of the Gorbachev Foundation, an international NGO founded by the former leader of the USSR. Since then, the Summits have gained in importance as a venue for exchanging opinions and as an event promoting international peace campaigns and initiatives. The event is traditionally presided over by Mikhail Gorbachev, the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and Walter Veltroni, former Mayor of Rome.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in 1996. It is the FARE network lead partner in Poland and Eastern Europe.

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