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CHICAGO (CBS) — The second day begins in Chicago Tuesday for the first ever World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in the United States.
The summit is a who’s who of international game-changers. Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and former Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni are chairing the summit, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is serving as an honorary chairman.
Former President Bill Clinton – who has been a nominee, but has not won the Nobel Peace Prize – was the keynote speaker at the opening night dinner on Monday.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, Clinton spends much of his time these days in Africa working with AIDS and tuberculosis patients, and building health systems.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
But he says people can choose a world of peace and cooperation.
“Peace is not just the absence of bad things. I like it when the Nobel Prize goes to someone who makes something good happen,” Clinton said.
During his speech, Clinton referred to his personal experiences with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda as president and as head of the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton has worked on several human rights initiatives since leaving the White House. The Chicago trip was Clinton’s second in less than two months.
At the opening night dinner, actor Sean Penn was also presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award for his work in Haiti.
“Our task is to hand over the cause of peace and to give our experience, our thoughts about peace, to the young generation,” Gorbachev said through an interpreter.
Gorbachev said education powered his rise from a remote Soviet village, to leader of a world power. He called reforming Russia, and ending the Cold War, his biggest accomplishments.
The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates comes just weeks before Chicago hosts President Barack Obama and numerous foreign leaders for the NATO summit.