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Atlanta pushes ahead with Nobel Peace initiatives

Maria Saporta
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who is chairing Atlanta Peace Inc., stars in a video promoting Atlanta as a city of peace (Special)

By Maria Saporta

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, progress is being made to brand Atlanta as a “city of peace.”

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who is chairing Atlanta Peace Inc., stars in a video promoting Atlanta as a city of peace (Special)

Key local leaders are raising money and working plans to host the 2021 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, but that’s just the initial part of their vision.

“We realized it made sense to expand the ecosystem of peace beyond the summit,” said Bob Hope, a public relations executive who is CEO of Atlanta Peace Inc.

The ecosystem – with an estimated $10 million budget – includes:

  • Hosting the summit every three years;
  • Creating a “Peace University” – a collaboration of metro Atlanta public and private universities that would develop a peace curriculum and eventually become a “Peace Institute;”
  • Locating a base for the Nobel Peace Laureates in Atlanta;
  • Working with numerous local nonprofits that are focused on peace – the King Center, the Carter Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, to name a few; and
  • Developing a “Peace District” that could house the Atlanta Consular Corps and other international organizations.

The Atlanta Peace Initiative has just unveiled its new website as well as a new video that outlines the next steps to realize the vision for making Atlanta a City of Peace.

Hope said all the different elements would complement each other. For example, the Peace University could hold conferences on the years that Atlanta would not be hosting the Summit.

The board of the Atlanta Peace Initiative

Three Atlanta executives are leading the business community’s efforts to create an ecosystem of peace: Jim Hannan, an executive with Koch Industries, which owns Georgia Pacific; Egbert Perry, CEO of the Integral Group; and Martha Brooks, co-chair of CARE’s board.

Although this is an effort being promoted by Atlanta leaders, they have a powerful international partner in addition to the Nobel organization – Rotary International – a leading global association that has peace as part of its mission.

Rotary International has agreed to produce and promote the Nobel Summit in Atlanta. Rotary International has 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and territories in the world.

The budget for the Atlanta Peace Ecosystem includes raising $4.5 million to host the October 2021 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, a four-day event that invites all Nobel Peace prize winners to the summit.

A slide showing the “Atlanta Peace Ecosystem” (Special)

The last Nobel Laureates Summit was held in Merida, Mexico in 2019. Thirty Nobel Peace Laureates attended, and there were 10,000 attendees from more than 20 countries. More than 400 accredited media attended, and there were 65 universities represented.

The rest of the budget includes $2.5 million to support the Nobel Peace Laureate office for the Americas that would be based in Atlanta; and $3 million to support the Peace University pilot for three years.

In the new video, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said Atlanta’s partnership with Nobel would continue the city’s legacy of civil rights, human rights, non-violence and peace.

Young, who chairs Atlanta Peace Inc., also mentioned that two Nobel Peace Prize winners have come from Atlanta, including the most famous Nobel prize winner – Martin Luther King Jr., and President Jimmy Carter.

“We have a history and heritage of peace that some of us have decided that we should institutionalize it,” Young said in the video. “We should brand Atlanta not only as a civil rights city, an international city, a city too busy to hate. But Atlanta should be a city of peace that brings the world together.”

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Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

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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