By Steven van Hoogstraten, General Director, Carnegie Foundation
Carnegie-Wateler Peace Prize
On 27 November 2014 the bi-annual peace prize of the Netherlands, the so called Carnegie-Wateler Peace Prize will be awarded to dr Lakhdar Brahimi from Algeria. Brahimi has been a top envoy and mediator for the United Nations in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Syria. He also was a Foreign Minister on his own country Algeria. He is known also for the influential Brahimi report. The Carnegie Wateler Prize goes back to 1930, when it was first awarded. Mr Johan Wateler was a rich and longstanding banker with the Oranje Nassau Bank in the Hague ( no longer in existence now). He left an important sum to the state in order for a peace prize to be adjudicated by the Tweede Kamer. This taks was however felt to be too political and onerous by our house of representatives, and they passed the task to the Carnegie Foundation. Our Foundation – which is the owner of the Peace palace – felt it an honour to determine the winner as from 1930, alternating between a dutch person or institution and a foreign person or institution. Recent winners were the organization War Child ( 2012), Peace One Day ( 2010), UN General Patrick Cammaert ( 2008), EU external coordinator Xavier Solana ( (2006), and humand rights professor Theo van Boven ( 2004).
On 27 november Lakhdar Brahimi will in the morning deliver a key note speech at the Euro-Arab dialogue, organized by the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation in the Academy Hall of the Peace Palace. The Carnegie Foundation is very happy to work together with the Rabbani Foundation on this important day, which we hope will generate some positive press coverage. Lakhdar Brahimi provided us with the following quote “Peace is as fragile as it is precious. You need to work hard to re-establish it. You must work as hard to reinforce and protect it”.
I would like to put some emphasis for the audience of Diplomatic magazine, that this prize is the only real peace prize awarded in this country. In a way, the person of Wateler can be compared to Alfred Nobel. The element of Carnegie in the name of the prize comes from the great American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who financed the Peace Palace and made a point of giving his wealth away to good causes. International peace and arbitration were at the forefront of his efforts. He gave the money for the Peace Palace only when he was satisfied that international arbitration was an effective instrument to settle international disputes. He explained in his writings that he had great faith in the Permanent Court of Arbitration and was devastated by the outbreak of the first World War.
Orchestre pour la Paix
The well known Orchestra for Peace from the Middle East, composed of musicians of jewish, muslim, and Christian background , will come to the Hague from 30 november to 5 december. This orchestra has the aim of brining nations an cultures closer to each other. It will perform a concert in the Peace Palace for an invited (CD/CDJ) audience on 3 december but it will also give a public concert in the Kloosterkerk on Thursday 4 december ( 20.00 hours) . The argentine pianist Miguel- Angel Estrella – who happens to be the ambassador for his country at the Unesco in Paris – will do a piano concert ( Bach’s piano concert in F minor) with this orchestra, which is conducted by the Egyptian Nadir Abassi . This whole event is sponsored by a number of institutions, including inter alia the embassies of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Argentina and France, the City of the Hague and the Carnegie Foundation . A broadly composed Comité d’initiatives has been working hard to make it all possible. You can read more about this rather special concert on the website of the Peace Palace, and if you want to buy tickets at 20 euro ( 15,- for students) you only have to click the button “activiteiten” and you come to the relevant page which allows you to buy tickets via the internet.
Commemoration First World War
A lot more is happening in the Peace Palace, apart from the daily menu of cases of international arbitration or adjudication. You can take part in a tour of the Peace Palace in weekends, and the Peace Palace Library is organizing from 14 november 3 december a special program devoted to commemoration of the First World War, with an exhibit of posters from that era, historic reviews about the concept of neutrality and a display of the original letters of a French soldier, which were discovered by chance by a member of Alliance Francaise. This event also includes the showing of the film “Joyeux Noel”, in the presence of the ambassador of Germany. When you are interested, go to the website of the Peace Palace, where you will find information how to participate.