“Peace can only be achieved if you get people involved in what stands in the way of peace,” Frederik Willem de Klerk, former president of the Republic of South Africa told an audience Monday at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.
“New Challenges for Peace,” a Monday panel hosted by moderator Chris Jansing from MSNBC, included de Klerk, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and other former heads of state who are Nobel Peace Laureates: Jimmy Carter of the United States (2002 Peace Prize), Lech Walesa, of Poland (1983 Peace Prize) and Mikhail Gorbachev, of the former Soviet Union (1990 Peace Prize). All traveled to Chicago for the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that is focused on informing youth that they have the tools to bring about change.
Advancements in technology make it easier for change because there is no need for a singular leader to lead a protest, Walesa said. Carter agreed that the prospects for prosperity and the future are better for young people today because of technology.
“Technology has changed the prospect of peace,” said Carter. “My 12-year-old nephew has one textbook in class and that is an iPad.” At the rate technology is evolving, he said he believes that children of all nations will be able to communicate and understand each other.
Sustaining changes that make peace possible are just as important as important as making those changes happen said de Klerk who said some youth land in the arms of terrorists if they “have a failed education system, no work, no hope. They are vulnerable because they have nothing to lose.” The key to ending terrorism is strengthening the conditions in every country, he said.