Atlanta given one more week to work on Peace Summit solution

By Maria Saporta

The City of Atlanta has one more week to work out an agreement to host the 2015 Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in November.

The 2015 Working Meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates met in Rome on May 2 and 3 to consider the “impasse” that has developed over the hosting of the 2015 Nobel Peace Summit.

The impasse now has boiled down to being between Mohammad Bhuiyan, the CEO of Yunus Creative Lab, and various other parties, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus.

Jason Carter, Prof. Yunus, Bhuiyan

Jason Carter, Muhammad Yunus and Mohammad Bhuiyan during happier times (Special: City of Atlanta)

Yunus Creative Lab, however, is the entity that was awarded the 2015 Summit by the Secretariat in 2013. Muhammad Yunus recently resigned as chairman of Yunus Creative Lab because he had lost faith in its management.

Since then, several key leaders in Atlanta have been trying to come up with a solution that would realign the organization of the Summit so that it could be embraced by the various stakeholders.

According to a press release issued late Sunday afternoon by the Secretariat, Atlanta is being given a week to come up with a working solution.

“The 2015 Working Committee reached an agreement on a final initiative to keep the possibility to continue with the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Atlanta in a manner that will be in line with its own requirements and that will be acceptable to all parties – and especially to Nobel Laureates and the City of Atlanta,” the release stated. “They also agreed that if a satisfactory solution cannot be reached within the next week, the 2015 Summit will be held in another city. ”

Secretariat logo

Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Peace Laureates logo

The Secretariat said it will issue a follow-up statement as soon as there is clarity on the outcome of its initiative.

Laura Turner Seydel, who has been chair of the Atlanta Summit host committee, was in Rome as an Atlanta’s representative, but she was not there to give the official position of Yunus Creative Lab. That was supposed to have been made by Bhuiyan, but he did not make a presentation.

Seydel has been working with Jason Carter, grandson of 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, as well as other key local leaders to find a solution that will be acceptable to the City of Atlanta and other key players in the community.

The 2015 Working Meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates meeting over the weekend also considered cities to host Summits in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The Working Meeting included members of the Permanent Secretariat, representatives of Nobel Laureates and Organizations and Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, representing the other five women of the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

According to the Secretariat’s background information, the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is an annual event to recognize the contributions that recipients have made towards the global discourse on peacemaking. It has previously been held in Rome, Paris, Berlin, Hiroshima and Chicago.

Over the past 14 years, the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates have features participation by numerous Nobel Peace Laureate individuals and organizations, including: President Mikhail Gorbachev, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Shimon Peres, Professor Muhammad Yunus, President Óscar Arias Sánchez, President Lech Walesa, President José Ramos-Horta, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Rt. Hon. Lord David Trimble, Professor John Hume, Kim Dae Yung, Jody Williams, Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Professor Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Dr. Rigoberta Menchù Tum, President Frederik Willem de Klerk, United Nations Children’s Fund, Pugwash Conferences, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, International Peace Bureau, American Friends Service Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Labour Organization, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, Grameen Bank and Red Cross.

The Summit has seen the high-profile announcement of the winners of the Peace Summit Award, which has been won by Bernardo Bertolucci, Sharon Stone, Sean Penn, Roberto Baggio, Annie Lennox, Bono, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Peter Gabriel, Sir Bob Geldoff, Cat Stevens, the Italian National Football Team and Robert Benigni.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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