Working for peace and love

The Nation, Talk of the Town - Saturday, March 15, 2003

With the daily discussions about whether the US will wage war against Iraq and the potential for major trouble in the North Korean region, is the prospect of peace just an impossible dream?

Maybe not. There are a number of peace lovers around the world working hard to formulate suggestions that will prevent disastrous wars. One of these people is Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein, chairman of the International Peace Foundation’s advisory board.

On his visit to Bangkok today, accompanied by his wife Princess Raffaella, the prince will hold various meetings in preparation for a for series of events dubbed “Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace”. Such dialogues are being initiated by the foundation in co-operation with various Thai institutions starting this November in Bangkok.

Among the individuals Prince Alfred is scheduled to meet are Parliament President Uthai Pimchaichon, former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, Supreme Commander Gen. Surayud Chulanont, Chulalongkorn University President Prof Tatchai Sumitra, European Commission Ambassador Klauspeter Schmallenbach, and Unesco Director Sheldon Shaeffer.

The series is comprised of more than 300 seminars, workshops, conferences and major public events including Nobel Laureates recognized for peace, physics, chemistry, medicine and economics. Those involved in international politics, the economy, science, culture and the media will also join hands with distinguished leaders in Thai society to further establish creative solutions against the growing threats of war and terrorism, as well as to promote Thailand as a center for dialogue, diplomacy and international understanding.

Among the 44 persons who have already confirmed their participation in this series are 22 Nobel laureates, former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Lord Dahrendorf from the London School of Economics, East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, Body Shop Founder Anita Roddick as well as opera diva Jessye Norman and former soccer player Franz Beckenbauer.

The event series is expected to act as a stage for the foundation to raise funds for direct donations to peace, education and development programmes of existing organizations and institutions in Thailand.

The first cheque from the foundation worth Bt 1 million will be presented by Prince Alfred and his wife when they visit Father Joseph Maier, director of the Human Development Foundation. The money will be used to support street children and people with Aids in the Klong Toey slum community.

The Nation