Sunday, 14 December 2008

Advice from Nobel Prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari

Martti Ahtisaari

In an era where politicians, sportspeople, economic woes and murderers grab the headlines, it is a pleasant change to see a humanitarian getting some media coverage. Humanitarian role models are few and it is so refreshing to see Martti Ahtisaari, the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari urging President-elect Barack Obama to start his term by giving "high priority" to the Mideast conflict, calling it the world's most challenging peace-building project.

The Finnish diplomat and mediator also warned that the global financial crisis would strike hard at the developing world, and he called on governments to not cut back on foreign aid.

Ahtisaari received this year's coveted Nobel Prize for his three decades of peace work around the globe including in Namibia, Kosovo and Indonesia. He served as Finland's president from 1994 until declining re-election in 2000, when he left politics and founded his Crisis Management Initiative, a peace mediation institute.

In his acceptance speech at the award ceremony in Oslo, Ahtisaari insisted that "all conflicts can be settled" and that the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict did not need to rage indefinitely.
"We simply cannot go on, year after year, simply pretending to do something to help the situation in the Middle East. We must also get results," Ahtisaari said.

"I do hope that the new president of the United States, who will be sworn in next month, will give high priority to the Middle East conflict during his first year in the office," he said.

Ahtisaari has not sought a role to mediate in the Middle East, and said the process was already in good hands with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair mediating.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the award ceremony, he criticized world leaders for not doing enough to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The international community and those in power are sitting there letting them destroy each other, and they are allowing both parties to make their lives in the future even more complicated and difficult than it is today," he said.

In his acceptance speech, the skilled and dogged negotiator said religions are peace-loving and can be a constructive force in solving conflicts. He said that also applies to Mideast peace efforts, which he called "the most challenging peace-building project ahead of us."

By selecting Ahtisaari for the prize, the Nobel committee returned its focus to traditional peace work after tapping climate campaigner Al Gore and the UN panel on climate change last year.

"His efforts have been untiring, and he has achieved good results," committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said of Ahtisaari.

Ahtisaari was a senior Finnish diplomat when in 1977 he was named the UN envoy for Namibia, where guerrillas were battling South African apartheid rule. He later became undersecretary-general, and in 1988 was dispatched to Namibia to lead 8,000 UN peacekeepers during its transition to independence.

After serving as Finnish president in 1994-2000, he returned to peace efforts in Kosovo and in Indonesia, where he negotiated a 2005 peace deal between the government and Aceh rebels.

Ahtisaari warned that the financial crisis could prove "another major setback" for poor countries already hit hard by climate change, rising food prices and declining levels of foreign trade.

"A reduction in foreign assistance and investment would be disastrous for badly needed economic growth," he said. "I call on all governments to remain committed to their stated goals of eradicating poverty."

The peace prize ceremony was in Oslo, while the Nobel awards in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics were presented in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in line with the 1895 will of prize founder Alfred Nobel.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
We need all the humanitarians we can get!
Arrived home a bit ago, glad to see the boys and Tara when she gets home from work.
Kia ora again to you, Ruia, Aroha, and Gavin for the outstanding hospitality. It was a fantastic experience and a joy to spend some time with you.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Robb

Great to have you stay with me in Ch Ch. Pleased you are back safe and sound in PNth. Saw the surgeon a few minutes ago and he is delighted with the progress. Bob

Paterika Hengreaves said...

Kia ora Bob

I'm delighted to read of the progress you are making as endorsed by your doctor. So keep doing what you are doing in this regard.

You have posted a very informative blog with much food for thought. I do believe that no country can prosper within the proper bounds of human dignity if efforts to eradicate poverty are inadequate. The current efforts are working too slowly so the benefits are not easily recognizable from reports. I tend to agree that we need more proactive measures along with the proper reassessment of current reactive measures which are not producing the desired results.

Poverty eradication must go beyond welfare handouts whether such handouts are are the macro or micro levels. People must be given opportunities to develop skills that would allow them to be self-sufficient within their natural environment. We all must do our part.

Ka kite ano

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Paterika

Wise words indeed about dignity and poverty. The more voices we have, the more strength we have, and the greater the advocacy and eventual changes.
It is the plodding away that wins the day.

Bob said...

In my view one and all must glance at this.

crearpaginaweb said...

I do believe that no country can prosper within the proper bounds of human dignity if efforts to eradicate poverty are inadequate.

Victoria Tran said...

I believe that no country can prosper within the proper bounds of human dignity if efforts to eradicate poverty are inadequate. The current efforts are working too slowly so the benefits are not easily recognizable from reports.

Kelvil said...

A useful advice that we should learn to have experience for ourselves.

Sharmy enter said...

We always get useful advice from the talented authors. Especially, he is a nobel prize winner.

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