The City of Sydney is a proud supporter of this prize, Australia’s only international award for peace. In recognising outstanding contributions to peace, justice and nonviolence and to human rights, the Sydney Peace Prize advocates for peace and reminds us of the urgent need to take action to address conflict and discord. On behalf of the City of Sydney, I congratulate the Sydney Peace Foundation on the continued success of the Sydney Peace Prize.
This is an important prize, not only for our city but for this nation, and as Chancellor of the University of Sydney I am pleased that we have been associated with it from its inception. Higher education institutions have an important role in advocating for a more peaceful society – as Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ – and so it is fitting that our Sydney Peace Foundation works for peace with justice both in our own communities and across the world. The Sydney Peace Prize recognises outstanding contributions to this goal.
My recent work on human rights violations in North Korea has challenged my thinking about peace. Peace which is silent, accepting of great wrongs and ignoring accountability of those responsible, is ultimately meaningless. Perhaps even counter-productive. The basic needs for shelter, food, civil justice and rights to receive and express divergent opinions are the essence of peace. So is human dignity. The Sydney Peace Foundation understands this. I support its notion of peace with justice.
Your work is really wonderful. This is ... building the foundation of a happy society
I have greatly valued being Patron of the Sydney Peace Prize. To recognise those individuals who contribute to a way of life which is so very important to us all – in every country and in every situation – is one way of highlighting the vital importance of peace and how peace with justice can change lives. We must ensure that we do whatever we can, in what ever way we can, to work for peace. Peace is central to achieving fair and just livelihoods with adequate access to food, health, education and most certainly freedom. Through these basic rights, each individual has the opportunity to realize their full potential. The Sydney Peace Prize is truly an inspirational contribution.
…you have a contribution to make to peace…. I think people can work actively to promote diversity, to promote justice, to promote understanding of human rights, equality and dignity. I think peace is not a noun; it’s actually a verb. We have to work towards it, we have to make it happen….
Peace is of course about the absence of war, of bloodshed, of people being killed, of armed conflict… But peace is about more than that. It’s about ensuring that people are not …stuck in a situation of injustice: structural embedded injustice. That people are not condemned to a life of indignity and poverty on a permanent basis.
I personally have no doubt that the Sydney Peace Prize is the most important and prestigious award of its kind in this country. Through it, the Sydney Peace Foundation, acknowledges and promotes the direct and conscious pursuit of true peace at both the international and the domestic levels. Equally important, through the annual award of the Prize and its other activities, the Foundation recognises and encourages the fight against the underlying causes of international and domestic conflict, namely, entrenched disadvantage, racism and other intolerance and discrimination, injustice, aggression and oppression. The Foundation has my gratitude, admiration and support.