35 RB students rub shoulders with Mayor Emanuel, Jimmy Carter, and more

35 RB students rub shoulders with Mayor Emanuel, Jimmy Carter, and more

World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

Madison Powers, Web Editor

On April 23, 2012, thirty five RB students and five staff members attended the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Forum Center. The summit was titled “Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights.” RB was lucky enough to be among the few schools invited, which also included New Trier, Lemont, and Walter Payton. A board of professors talked amongst themselves and voted on which school would and would not make the cut. After lengthy review, RB received a phone call asking if they would like to attend the event.

The students were greeted by the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. He welcomed the Laureates and noted that the speakers would, “discuss their crusade for human rights and peace, giving our students an experience that will both inspire them and give them something to aspire to.” Emanuel was followed by President of Robert F.Kennedy Center, Kerry Kennedy, who further explained the objective of the summit and how the students could let this impact their everyday lives.

The Laureates were then introduced and were recognized for their accomplishments. MSNBC correspondent Chris Jansing began a conversation with former President Jimmy Carter, former Polish President Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Frederik Willem de Klerk of South Africa. The presidents all discussed the current problems the world is facing, such as the economy, lack of jobs, and man’s ongoing relationship with war. Every solution proposed relied greatly on the impact and creativity of the youth of the world. They explained how the only way things can get better are if young people come together and think of new ways to change the world. They also discussed how this would be easier than ever before because of the new technology we have developed. It will be much easier to converse with other countries due to web cameras, e-mail, etc. The idea of bringing the youth of the world was very prevalent, along with instilling the mind set of peace over war. Gorbachev said, “Humankind has got to say war comes last, peace comes first.”

After a short break, a new set of Laureates took place, but this discussion was primarily about the environment and global climate change. They discussed our reliance on machines that polluted the air and how to improve aspects of our planet. In discussing our advancement in technology/ fuel efficiency Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachuari said, “It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going if you are headed in the wrong direction.” This discussion allowed students to discover new ways to change their life, for the better. New ways of being environmentally friendly were brought up, along with ideas of how the world needs to change or things will begin to spiral out of control.

RB students found this experience to very enriching and eye-opening. Senior Nina Wazsak said, “It was an honor to be invited to attend this event and I feel everyone at the summit realized how important our generation is for the future. It was a once in a life time opportunity and I really took a lot away from attending.”