When the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Elie the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 the choice was greeted with international acclaim, for it is difficult to imagine any other person in the world who had so commanded the respect of political leaders and the people themselves. As for myself, Elie has always been my teacher, mentor, role model, inspiration, and friend of 50 years - in a word, the most remarkable human being I have ever encountered.
The number of conflicts -- especially intra-state conflicts -- is on the rise worldwide, contributing to record numbers of forcibly displaced people in 2014. Many of these conflicts are marked by violent extremism and acts of gender-based violence and abuse. The practice and policy of war and security have traditionally been dominated by men. Women and girls are almost always excluded from the political processes that are essential for peace and security: between 1992 and 2011, less than four per cent of signatories to peace agreements and fewer than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables were women. Yet, there is solid evidence that women's participation in peace negotiations contributes to more lasting peace.
Today Canadians celebrate Lester Pearson's birthday. Even as we reflect back on the kind of leader he was and the growing capacities of Canada that he helped to create, we become aware that somewhere between then and now we lost our edge, our diversified global influence, and, sadly, our belief in the public good.
The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.
Millions around the world rejoiced when Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Canada will embrace Malala by granting her an honourary citizenship to recognize and celebrate her efforts to educate the girls in Pakistan. Today, we must also expose and confront the distorted narratives of those in Pakistan who systematically misconstrue facts and figures to discredit her.
While the announcement that Malala Yusufzai has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi of India was greeted with jubilation across the world jubilant, many in her native Pakistan have shown open hostility towards her while her admirers fear that she may now never be able to return to her birthplace.
I am Malala. I come from a lineage of women who fought stereotypes, racism and bigotry in their adapted homes in North America. I continue to fight it here in Canada. I am Malala because I understand what it is like to have others want to silence you, your beliefs and your actions. Each and every single Muslim woman who has been a victim of racism, prejudice and bigotry is Malala.
The award this year of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Alice Munro is inspiring. Less satisfactory is the Norwegian Nobel Committee's award of the Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The organization is doubtless well-intentioned, but it has absolutely no method to achieve its ends. It might be advisable for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to specify whether it is awarding the Peace Prize for genuine achievements of designated goals of peace, or for strenuous effort in such a cause with no implication of whether the recipient's efforts will actually be fruitful.
In 1999, as Médecins Sans Frontières' international president, Dr. Orbinski, accepted the award on behalf of MSF for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism, particularly for its approach to witnessing -- making the atrocities they observe known to the public. We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Orbinski.
We did it! After tens of thousands of Canadians and even more people from around the world signed my petition on Change.org, we got every single party leader to get behind the campaign to unanimously nominate Malala Yousufzai for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. I had never imagined that not one, but all of our federal parties and leaders would end up supporting the campaign to support a girl halfway around the world.
Q: What race has won the most Nobel Peace Prizes? If you guessed "Democrats," you'd be close, but the correct answer is "non-humans." Funky, eh? But don't think this trend of handing peace prizes to things without hands has gone unnoticed by our pals in the Canadian press! Speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, you know who's probably not gonna win a Nobel Peace Prize? Pastor Terry Jones, that's who!
Right now, Europe is having serious economic and social problems. But that's no reason to challenge the award of the Nobel Peace prize to the European Union. When it comes to handing out peace prizes, you can't ask for a lot more than traditional enemies beating their swords into ploughshares. And lions lying down with lambs. This Peace Prize is truly well-deserved.