Peace Summit Award to Richard Branson
Since 1999, every summit grants the award to a celebrity who through their reputation and actions has worked for global peace and wellbeing.
At the 16th Summit, which was held in Bogotá, the award went to the British businessman, Richard Branson, for his non-stop philanthropic work.
When presenting the prize, the President of Colombia and 2016 Nobel Peace Laureate stated that, “Sir. Richard Branson is a great human being and has done outstanding work in two areas to end two wars: the war on drugs by applying common sense and practical solutions, and the war on climate change. We need to join forces with him to face the challenges we have today.”
In turn, Richard Branson said that the challenges the world faces today are a source of inspiration to find alternatives. “Colombia has suffered from war, its consequences and drug trafficking, and it has been on the verge of collapse. However, after 50 years, Colombians have had enough. I have always believed that business can improve people’s lives and that’s why I reach out to you Colombians to see the opportunities in this process to end corruption, invest in infrastructure and create jobs for those who put down their weapons.”
Richard Branson founded the Virgin Group in 1970, one of the most famous brands in the tourism, cellphone and entertainment sectors on the planet. In 2004, he created Virgin Unite, which makes connections between people and enterprise to promote their growth. In 2007, he founded The Elders, a group of global leaders who work for peace and human rights. He is a supporter of the United Nations and of many other causes of the Noble Peace Laureates.
Medal for Social Activism - Kerry Kennedy
The Medal for Social Activism is awarded at every summit to activists who have made great contributions to human rights.
In Bogotá, on behalf of the Summit Committee, the laureate Kailash Satyarthi awarded the Medal for Social Activism to Kerry Kennedy from the USA, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, for her pursuit of social justice and work promoting human rights.
“Sometimes you feel like you can’t say something,” said Kailash Satyarthi. "Today I am going to talk about someone who I met 22 years ago, a passionate social activist who has become a defender of human rights defenders. While people suffer violations of their human rights, slavery, discrimination and violence in different forms, Kerry has always been by their side no matter the cost.”
When receiving the medal, the U.S. woman highlighted that despite the world going through a difficult period of conflict, “Colombia is an oasis of optimism. I’m so happy to be in Colombia. Thank you everyone who is determined to make peace in this country. We are all going to work so hard to make sure you succeed not just for yourself, but for all of us”.
Medal for Social Impact - Leyner Palacios
This acknowledgement is awarded at each summit to a member of the host country’s civil society who has led peace-building projects.
The laureate Tawakkul Karman gave the award to Leyner Palacios, who after losing tens of family members and friends in the FARC terrorist attack on a church in Bojayá, has worked to rebuild his town’s social fabric. He was nominated with another four victims for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.
When awarding the medal, the laureate highlighted the work that Leyner has carried out with his colleagues in the Committee for the Rights of Victims of Bojayá. “He...” Tawakkul stated, “has worked in recent years as a community leader to promote dialog and reconciliation in a remote part of Colombia. He has sought to generate an impact and a place for reconciliation.”
While the Colombian said, “Thank you for this award. We have experienced a great tragedy in Colombia and we need to transform it. We want to tell the world our story so that others do not have to go through what we’ve been through. We are grateful to those who work for peace and reconciliation, and to the victims for not multiplying the violence".
Turner Social Change Prize to Andrea Zanabria of Colombia, Chaeli Mycroft of South Africa; Kekashan Basu of the United Arab Emirates, and Angela Serrano of Colombia
At each summit, the students who participate in the "Leading by Example” educational program can present and communicate their social change projects. The winner receives a cash prize to invest in their project. This is the Turner Social Change Prize.
For the first time at this summit, four young women received the prize for their projects to have an impact on communities. After analyzing more than 250 applications, the judges chose four finalists and decided to award the prize of USD 2,500 to each one of them to invest in their initiatives.
The winners were:
- Andrea Zanabria, from Colombia, with “Tools to build peace”.
- Chaeli Mycroft, from South Africa, with “How to build an inclusive society”.
- Kehkashan Basu, from United Arab Emirates, with “Climate change and environmental protection”.
- Ángela Serrano, from Colombia, with “How to build an inclusive civil society”.
“The last few days have been inspiring. These young people have innovative and optimistic ideas to achieve social change. They believe in a world without climate change, war, poverty, hunger or disease; a world without nuclear weapons and with clean oceans,” said Laura Turner Seydel, Chair of the Foundation, when awarding the prizes.