The European Union is to donate the eight million Swedish kronor (about 930 000 euro) award given to it for winning the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to benefit children affected by war and conflicts across the world, the European Commission said on November 14.
European Commission President Jose Barroso said, “The Nobel Peace Prize stands for reconciliation throughout the world. The Prize money should benefit the first hope for the future, but also the first victims of present and past conflicts: children”.
Following agreement between President Barroso and Presidents Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council and Martin Schulz of the European Parliament, the Commission intends to allocate the Nobel Peace Prize money for “EU Nobel Prize Children’s Projects”. These should be for the benefit of children in war and conflict zones. Since children are the future of any society and at the same time among the most vulnerable, the peace dividend the European Union is receiving should be “invested” in those children who are the victims of violent conflict, the European Commission said.
At the same time, the EU has launched a drawing and writing contest for eight to 24-year-olds, with the four winners being invited to the 2012 Nobel Peace prize ceremony in Oslo. This contest is organised in partnership with the European Youth Forum. The four winners will be invited by the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, to be part of the official delegation of the EU that will travel to Oslo to receive this year’s Peace Prize.
Launching the contest, Van Rompuy, Barroso and Schulz said, “The 2012 Nobel Peace prize is not only a recognition of the European Union’s past achievements: it also looks to the future. Our task is always to inspire the next generation of Europeans. That is why we want Europe’s youth, who are inheriting a continent of peace and who will be responsible for Europe’s future, with us in Oslo”.
“The Nobel Peace prize is an opportunity to remember the importance of the engagement of civil society and EU citizens, especially young people, in bringing about peace on the continent. Active young people were driving forces in a Europe growing together and a strong European youth is a prerequisite for a continuation of peaceful developments towards a united Europe” said Peter Matjašič, President of the European Youth Forum.
“Peace, Europe, Future: What does Peace in Europe mean to you?” This is the question put to young people from the EU and acceding or candidate countries aged between eight and 24 years old. Children aged eight to 12 should express their answer in a drawing, young people aged 13 to 24 in a short text of maximum 120 characters, in any of the 23 EU official languages.
The contest will be open until November 25, midnight CET. The European Youth Forum will pre-select the 16 best entries for each age group (eight-12, 13-17, and 18-24). A jury will select three of the final winners (one per age group) who will win a trip to Oslo.
The 16 pre-selected entries from the categories 18-24 will also be posted on Facebook for a vote by the public. The candidate with the most votes will be invited to Oslo. This winner will also be invited to come to Strasbourg for a special event around the Nobel prize on December 12, and so will the nine runners-up.
The names of the winners will be announced during the week of December 3. Winners will attend the official ceremony on December 10 as well as the Nobel Peace Prize concert on December 11.
Participants can take part in the contest and propose entries on: www.peaceuropefuture.eu.
(Photo: Päivi Tiittanen)