CHICAGO (CBS) — Former presidents and peace activists were in Chicago Monday for the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the Nobel laureates in town compose a diverse group of luminaries, including former President Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Polish Solidarity co-founder and later President Lech Wałęsa, and the last Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
Gorbachev sat next to fellow Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States.
“Humankind has got to say war comes last, peace comes first,” he said.
Also on the panel was former South African leader F.W. DeKlerk, who helped end Apartheid.
But as thousands of students across the country saw a live feed of the summit, Jody Williams, who won her Nobel Prize for working to ban landmines, said such a gathering is misleading.
“I get so tired of people who think that only ‘those people, those famous people who won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ somehow they have this special power to change the world,” she said.
She said it just takes hard work.
Also in Chicago for the summit is Iranian dissident Shirin Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
Speaking through an interpreter, Ebadi says the Nobel laureates will talk about ways to enhance world peace.
“One of the issues that we are going to discuss at the summit is the issue of nuclear weapons and the prevention of it, and this goes back to Iran and also other countries in the Middle East,” Ebadi said.
The laureates will first speak with Chicago high school students, then attend the opening ceremony and summit at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
On Monday night, former President Bill Clinton – who has been a nominee, but has not won the Nobel Peace Prize – will be the keynote speaker at the opening night dinner.