This collection of the acceptance speeches of the first 11 winners of the Sydney Peace Prize is a real gem. The laureates are listed below but among them are Desmond Tutu, Xanana Gusmao, novelist Arundhati Roy, Patrick Dodson, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky. From this list it is easy to see what an inspirational body of work we have in this little book.
Each recipient comes at the topic of peace from a different angle and often with the experience of a different country but the uniting factor is ‘peace with justice’. In the foreword Professor Stuart Rees, who founded the Sydney Peace Prize, quotes a poem by Bertolt Brecht:
Justice is the bread of the people
As daily bread is necessary
So is daily justice
It is even necessary several times a day.
Peace with justice should be the vision of every teacher and every school as here in Australia we face the swirling possibility of communal disruption caused by events in the Middle East. How we approach these problems is the key to social harmony and tolerance which is another facet of peace.
Peace is a many sided gem and can be approached from many angles. The recipients speak passionately through the pages on topics as diverse as the violence of poverty, reconciliation in South Africa, Palestine, Australian indigenous justice, rights of the child, disarmament, human rights, the environment, non violence and much more.
The prize winners who speak so eloquently and movingly are truly inspiring. They provide an essential antidote to the so-called war against terror which is ending neither violence nor terrorism.
Conversations in Peace has much to offer teachers as well as the wider community as we deal with a world so desperately in need of peace with justice. Sydney Peace Prize recipients 1998 -2011 (in order): Muhammad Yunus, Desmond Tutu, Xanana Gusmao, William Deane, Mary Robinson, Hanan Ashrawi, Arundhati Roy, Olara Otunnu, Irene Khan, Hans Blix, Patrick Dodson, John Pilger, Vandana Shiva, Noam Chomsky.
The book can be purchased for $30 through the Sydney Peace Foundation at sydneypeacefoundation.org.au.