Thursday, December 18, 2014

Learning outside the classroom and meeting Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome

Last week, a group of SAIS Europe students traveled to Rome to attend the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Laura Saiki Chaves, a current MA student from Peru in the International Development concentration, made it to Rome with her classmates. Below she tells us about her experience at the Summit.

The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is one of the largest and most influential events in the field of peacemaking, attended by Laureates and students like myself interested in development and humanitarian issues.

It is an annual event that is hosted around the world to focus on issues such as nonviolence, rule of law and environmental and sustainable development.

Originally set to be hosted in Cape Town, the 2014 Summit was relocated to Rome at the last minute
in order to accommodate the XIV Dalai Lama.

Laura (fourth from right) and some of her classmates at the Summit

This was an opportunity I could not miss. Bologna is just over a two-hour train ride from Rome and together with a group of fifty classmates, I traveled to the Italian capital to attend the Summit.

Throughout the three-day conference, I was able to attend panels which featured Laureates such as Tawakkol Karman, David Trimble, Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Jose Ramos-Horta and the Dalai Lama.

The main theme of the Summit this year was “Living Peace". The sessions and workshops were structured to provide us participants with more insight into the topic. Panel discussions ranged from stopping gender and sexual violence, to reconciling communities and promoting social activism.

Not only were we able to attend the panel discussions, many of us also participated in student workshops hosted by different organizations, including the Yunus Centre, the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Refugee Agency, among others.

My classmate Nicole Ahdiyyih said the highlight of the trip for her was meeting one-on-one with Laureate Shirin Ebadi: “Meeting an incredible woman like Shirin Ebadi – someone who fights tirelessly for the promotion of human rights and democracy – was most inspirational and motivating as she is an example of how one should act in serving humanity.”

Like Nicole, I was moved by the female speakers. Listening to Laureate Tawakkol Karman was absolutely inspiring.

For more information about the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, please click here.

Laura Saiki Chaves
(SAIS Europe 2015)

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