The word ‘peace’ is in every language of every culture, every tribe, every race, every religion and every nation. It clearly shows that the desire for peace is universal, yet there are statistics that tell a different story.
Millions of people died or are maimed by violent conflicts, the majority, precisely 90%, being civilian. Everytime we turn on a news channel, we see the horrific images of people being killed somewhere around the world.
Every day of this century the world is becoming increasingly unsafe. In 2002 the World Health Organization published a comprehensive report on global violence and health. It gave Governments clear warnings but it did not stop the slide into greater catastrophe.
In nearly 10 years after the declaration of the War on Terror, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine have killed at least 225,000 people, mostly civilians.
Now more than a decade into the 21st century we are looking at a century that promises to be more bloody and violent than previous centuries. The world today is not only an unsafe place to live in, it is also one that is harshly unequal and unkind to the great majority of its people.
The 21st century will see inventions and innovation that will take Mankind into a wholly new existence or maybe non-existence. While we marvel at the possibility of the blind being able to see, the deaf being able to hear and an end to all diseases, there is the other side to these innovations.
Weapons that could be developed make the future seem like a horror movie. We hear of weapons so tiny that they can seep into our brains and erase a mind clean of its memory. We will also have the ability to create biological weapons that will attack specific races based on their genetic make-up.
Laser weapons that can slice apart enemy soldiers or acoustic weapons that stun and paralyse are also on the menu in the not too distant future. There are more, lots more of giant robots, which are half human and half machine, that are made to kill and destroy. There are micro robots, so tiny they are the size of sand and dust and can fly into our homes to spread viruses or spy on us. Simply put, it is simply horrifying.
The future looks foreboding, and it’s only upon us to stop the atrocities and inequalities before we drive our own species into inexistence. It’s our responsibility to ensure the survival of mankind. Speaking at the Award inauguration, Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak said it was every nation’s responsibility to ‘break through the past and create a better future, to secure a just and lasting peace.’ He further emphasized the need to turn away from war and work towards peace through tolerance and understanding, he said, ‘Peace can only be achieved if we are willing to constructively engage each other, to substitute dialogue in place of conflict.’
We must join together with those extraordinary people or organizations who have dedicated their time to efforts towards peace and stability in their own countries or in conflict-ridden territories worldwide. The Mahathir Award for Global Peace is an initiative aimed at acknowledging such exemplary contributions and efforts, and to encourage the rest of the world, especially the youth, to work towards peace and harmony.
By naming the award after Tun Dr Mahathir we have created the yardstick by which we will identify role models for youths. The passion, the courage, the perseverance, the innovation and the leadership with which Tun Dr Mahathir relentlessly pursues his ideals are the very qualities we wish to celebrate in others.
Over the years, his voice has become the voice of the weakest and the poorest. He has become the voice of conscience in a conflict-laden, painfully divided world.
Tun Dr Mahathir has been at the forefront of opposition to war as a means of conflict resolution. He has been one of the world’s most consistent, most outspoken and most forthright advocates of peace. He has devoted his entire life to the promotion of global peace and stability.
By recognizing His Excellency Nelson Mandela as the first recipient of the Mahathir Award for Global Peace we set pace for the world to follow in his steadfast commitment to peace and freedom.
Also at the inauguration, South African president, Jacob Zuma, who received the Award on behalf of Nelson Mandela, said giving the Award to Nelson Mandela, ‘a man who has demonstrated a remarkable ability for forgiveness and reconciliation, which are the main building blocks for peace,’ highlights the need to work tirelessly towards peace.
Nelson Mandela exemplifies the revolution we need to produce in our hearts to remove our prejudices, our hatred, our envy, our bitterness and by doing so transform into a civilized people of one planet.
He is a man admired by the entire world. It was his willingness to walk the road of sacrifice that distinguishes him as one of the greatest symbol of peace, tolerance, non-violence and moral integrity of our age. He is an icon to which the youth must look at in order to lead to a future where peace triumphs.
Tun Dr Mahathir was one of the first people to see Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in Robben Island, and, instead of a broken or bitter man he was expecting, he said he found a man who was extremely rational, who thought of nothing but the welfare and well-being of the people in South Africa. Instead of being bitter and angry at his jailers, Mandela said he had made friends with his jailers.
I count myself privileged to have worked alongside him during the most defining moments of his long struggle for dignity and equality in his own country.
The Mahathir Award for Global Peace, in reality is more than a recognition of peace efforts. It is a beginning of an education of youths. To grow in their hearts an appreciation for the diversity of the human race. To build their tolerance for cultural and religious differences. To develop their creativity in addressing social problems.
Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir emphasized the important role the youth have to play in achieving a peaceful world. Quoted at the Award inauguration, he said ‘The future generation has a role to play. It is going to be a long struggle but I am sure if young people realize the need to criminalise war, the need to promote peace, then God willing, peace can be achieved.’
Through the Mahathir Peace Foundation, we intend to encourage the youth towards a peaceful future. Given that there are more than 3 million young people below the age of thirty online and on mobile, we could deliver the Mahathir Peace message to millions within a very short time. As well, we could reach every university across the world online within a short time as well.
In young people lies the salvation of Mankind. In their awareness of the perils that lie ahead lies the remedy for the human race. Through their increased effort at finding peaceful means to conflict resolution, can lead to a future where peace prevails and Mankind is given the opportunity to live in harmony.
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing, the Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, does not fit into any ordinary mould that would describe most entrepreneurs.
His journey has been closely linked with the economic and social development of Malaysia.
Only 6 percent of the population aged 20-24 in Least Developed Countries was enrolled in tertiary education compared with 23 percent in other developing countries and 57 percent in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
— UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report, 2006
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