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Nobel Peace Prize WInner Expected in Ambon

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

By Otniel Tamindael

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh have been invited to attend the 29th World Peace Day commemoration ceremony in the scenic eastern Indonesian city of Ambon this month.

World Peace Day committee chairman Djuyoto Suntani said in Semarang, Central Java, on Monday that Mandela, the former South African president, had been invited to attend the event in Ambon.

Djuyoto was in Semarang to check the finishing stage of the making of a world peace gong by a Central Java craftsman in Jepara district.

He said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to strike the gong to mark the opening of the World Peace Day commemoration ceremony in Ambon in the middle of this month.

Commenting on Mandela`s expected presence in Ambon, Djuyoto said there was as yet no official confirmation whether the Nobel Peace Prize winner would come or not.

The former South African leader now 91 years old, has received more than one hundred awards over four decades for his efforts and services not only to his nation but also to people across the world.

The most prestigious among all the awards he received was the Nobel Peace Prize which was presented to him in 1993.

Nelson Mandela not only received countless awards and honors from his own country but has been bestowed with numerous foreign and international awards too.
He shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Frederik Willem de Klerk.

Born on July 18, 1918 in Transkei, South Africa, Mandela was the first to be elected as president in a fully representative democratic election to hold office from 1994 to 1999.

Before he became president, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the African National Congress`s armed wing.

"We are still waiting for confirmation of Mandela`s presence in Ambon because it depends on his state of health ," Djuyoto said, adding that other international figure such as Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, was also invited for the event.

In 1998 Yunus was awarded the Concorde Prince of Asturias award, and in 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below."

"We are looking forward to the presence of Mandela and Yunus in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon," Djuyoto said adding that the ambassadors of friendly countries in Jakarta were also invited to attend the international event.

Meanwhile, World Peace Day local committee chairman Cak Saimima said recently the exact date for the observance of the 29th World Peace Day in Ambon was for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fix.

"It is up to President Yudhoyono to set the date of the occasion because he will have to strike the world peace gong which is now still being made by a craftsman in Jepara, Central Java," Cak Saimima said.

Saimima said Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono would facilitate a meeting between a Maluku delegation led by Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu and the president to discuss and fix the date.

"The commemoration of the 29th World Peace Day was originally scheduled on November 10, 2009 but it will be observed in conjunction with National Heroes` Day, and therefore had been postponed until November 15, but the final decision on the date is for the president to make," Saimima said.

He said Governor Ralahalu declared the commemoration of World Peace Day on the final day of the Ambon Jazz Plus Festival on October 11, 2009.

On the occasion, Governor Ralahalu urged the Maluku people to be grateful because their region had been chosen to host various cultural activities at national and international level.

He also expressed his gratitude to all artists and musicians who had come to participate in the Ambon Jazz Plus Festival (AJPF) as a form of support for World Peace Day in Ambon.

The observance of World Peace Day was followed by a Maluku Cultural Seminar on October 19, Cultural Carnival on October 27, and a Swimming Competition in Teluk Dalam on October 29.

The governor said the commemoration of World Peace Day in Ambon would be a great honor for the provincial government.

"Therefore the government and the people of Maluku should maintain the security and stability in Ambon to make the international event a great success," the governor said.

Ambon island is an integrated part of the whole Maluku archipelagic province of Indonesia where the capital of the province and the city of Ambon is located.

After a three-year communal conflict in Maluku from 1999-2001, Ambon island today is becoming more attractive tourist destination.

With its rugged mountains along the interior parts of the island, Ambon is a beauty by its own where visitors can find a lot of tourist attractions, natural as well as cultural and historical, like white sandy beaches, sea gardens, clove and nutmeg plantations, ancient fortresses, museuma, old churches and mosques, friendly people, musical society, and many others with about 12 selected diving spots around the island.

The city of Ambon was founded in the late 1500s or early 1600s after the Nossa Seinhora da Annunciada fortress was erected by the Portoguese Conquistadores.

The Dutch took it over in 1602 and renamed the fortress "Kasteel Victoria." It was later renovated and enlarged, and again given a new name, "Kasteel Nieuw Victoria," which has survived up to the present.


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