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“Alternative Nobel Prize” for Alyn Ware

“Alternative Nobel Prize” for Alyn Ware, World March Coordinator for New Zealand – Aotearoa

United Kingdom London

One of the 2009 Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prizes goes to Alyn Ware, World March for Peace and Nonviolence Coordinator for New Zealand - Aotearoa, for “his effective and creative advocacy and initiatives over two decades to further peace education and to rid the world of nuclear weapons”.

Alyn Ware, tireless campaigner for peace and nonviolence was today awarded a Right Livelihood Award in recognition “for his effective and creative advocacy and initiatives over two decades to further peace education and to rid the world of nuclear weapons”. The Right Livelihood awards established in 1980 by the Swede, Jakob von Uexkull, is an award that is presented annually to honour those "working on practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today".

Alyn together with René Ngongo of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Catherine Hamlin from Ethiopia were selected from a field of 82 candidates from 46 countries and each will receive 50,000 euros in prize money.

The Award Jury gave the following motivation for its choice of laureates: "Despite the scientific warnings about the imminent threat and disastrous impacts of climate change and despite our knowledge about solutions, the global response to this crisis is still painfully slow and largely inadequate. At the same time, the threat from nuclear weapons has by no means diminished, and the treatable diseases of poverty shame our common humanity."

"The 2009 Right Livelihood Award Recipients demonstrate concretely what has to be done in order to tackle climate change, rid the world of nuclear weapons, and provide crucial medical treatment to the poor and marginalised."

In addition David Suzuki from Canada wins an Honorary Award “for his lifetime advocacy of the socially responsible use of science, and for his massive contribution to raising awareness about the perils of climate change and building public support for policies to address it".

Advancing a Nuclear Weapons Convention

In 1995 Alyn co-founded Abolition 2000, an international network now numbering over 2000 endorsing organisations that calls for negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention - a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons under effective international control. Following the 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Alyn drafted a UN resolution on implementation of the ICJ opinion through negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Since then, this resolution has attracted every year the votes of some 125 countries in the UN General Assembly - including from the New Agenda Countries (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden), the Non-Aligned Movement, and some of the nuclear-weapons possessing countries - China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Alyn then brought together a group of experts to draft a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention - a 70-page document outlining the legal, technical and political measures required to achieve and sustain a nuclear-weapons-free world. This Model Nuclear Weapon Convention has been circulated and promoted by the UN Secretary-General.

Alyn Ware believes that his peace education work in schools and his international peace and disarmament work are intricately linked. He said: "The principles of peace are the same whether it be in school, at home, in the community or internationally. These are primarily about how to solve our conflicts in win/win ways, i.e. in ways that meet all peoples' needs. My kindergarten teaching was thus good training for my international peace and disarmament work. And when I am back in the classroom, I can help students see that the ideas and approaches they are using to solve their conflicts are similar to the ideas and approaches we use at the United Nations to solve international conflicts."


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