Seven Nobel Peace laureates will be on the campus of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) from Thursday through Saturday, September 11th to 13th, to participate in an event that will launch what peace advocates are hoping will be the continuation of an ambitious global movement to rally young people to the cause of world peace.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and six other Nobel Peace Prize winners will take part in the “Global Call to Action,” a venture sponsored by the PeaceJam Foundation.
The mission of the foundation is to create a new generation of young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace laureates.
The Global Call to Action is designed to inspire youths to tackle some of the most pressing and difficult matters that affect nearly all of the world’s nations.
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Jody Williams, Jose Ramos-Horta, Betty Williams, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, and Shirin Ebadi are the other Nobel winners who will join Tutu for the event.
All seven will be part of a campus discussion on a variety of topics.
Three thousand youths between the ages of 14 and 25 have been invited to participate in the campaign, which will not be open to the public.
“The PeaceJam event ties directly together with LMU’s mission of social justice and service,” LMU assistant director of communications Christine Nangle told The Argonaut. “There are 240 LMU students who will be participating in PeaceJam as mentors to the participants, which shows a great commitment to improving their community through social justice.”
In September 2006, the foundation hosted the largest gathering of Nobel Peace laureates in the history of the United States, and subsequently launched a ten-year Global Call to Action initiative designed to address some of the most vexing problems facing the planet today.
The Nobel laureates hope to inspire one billion Global Action projects worldwide by the year 2016.
Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners were involved in the 2006 event.
Archbishop Tutu encouraged support for the foundation, and described the powerful work of this international education foundation.
“It has gained an incredible kind of momentum and has made a huge, huge difference in the lives of many young people in giving them hope and direction,” said the archbishop, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his nonviolent work to end apartheid and bring equality for the people in South Africa.
The participation of LMU students in the PeaceJam initiative is part of what the university teaches its students, said Pam Rector, director of the LMU Center for Service and Action, and those who serve as mentors will have the opportunity to take part in an extraordinary event.
“Our goal is to put students in direct contact with the poor and the marginalized,” Rector explained. “Because of our work with PeaceJam, there will be an opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to take part in the campus talk that the Nobel winners will give.”
Ending racism and hatred, stopping the spread of global disease, securing rights for women and children, restoring the environment and breaking the cycle of violence in communities around the globe are among actions that PeaceJam is encouraging in an effort to attain its ambitious international goal of accu- mulating one billion Global Call to Action projects, to be accomplished within ten years.
“It’s a huge honor and a very momentous occasion for us to host PeaceJam’s event on our campus,” said Rector.
“For LMU to have the opportunity to showcase an event like this is a real honor,” Nangle added.
Penguin Books will release the official handbook for the campaign, PeaceJam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace, at the event, and the PeaceJam Foundation will launch a new highly interactive Global Call to Action Web site to track the progress of the campaign.
A PBS film crew will be on-site during the three days of the international event to complete filming of the companion television series, which will run next spring.
The PeaceJam Foundation has been nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in creating the Global Call to Action campaign.
LMU has a faculty member who is a Nobel laureate as well. Jeremy Pal, an assistant professor of civil engineering and environmental science, was one of the contributing authors on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC), an international collaboration of scientists that shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.
Pal’s area of expertise includes the study of how greenhouse gases affect the change in global temperatures, and the consequences that drastic rises in these temperatures can have on particular regions of the world. He has authored academic studies that translate global warming and temperature estimates to particular regions.