FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, November 14, 2005
Gary Blackwell, PeaceJam Foundation
Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Mayor's Office
Denver to Host Largest U.S. Gathering of Nobel Peace Prize Winners at September 2006 PeaceJam Conference
Local Foundation to Connect Nobel Laureates and Youth from Around the World
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe and PeaceJam Foundation founders Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff announced Monday that Denver will host the largest gathering of Nobel Peace Laureates ever held in the United States.
Twelve Nobel Laureates—including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu—will travel to Denver to attend the PeaceJam Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration September 15-17, 2006, at the University of Denver. The Laureates will lead a Global Call to Action for 3,000 teenage PeaceJam delegates from the United States and 10 other countries.
“Denver is honored to host 12 of the world’s most influential moral leaders and the next generation of international peacemakers for this unprecedented global dialogue,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Local partnerships are the backbone of this world-class event that will put the Mile High City–and a global call to action–in the international spotlight.”
The 12 Nobel Peace Laureates traveling to Denver for the September 2006 conference are the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Betty Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Oscar Arias, Jody Williams, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Bishop Belo and Wangari Maathai. This will be the largest gathering of Nobel Peace Laureates ever outside of Oslo, Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation.
“There are more than two billion teenagers on this planet,” said Dawn Engle, co-founder of PeaceJam. “Nearly half of the world's population is under the age of 20. The message that PeaceJam and the Nobel Laureates have for teenagers around the world is that. yes, one person can make a difference.”
One local teen who has taken that advice to heart is Nijah Teasley, a 16-year-old Denver resident and Jefferson High School student. A former gang member, Teasley joined the Gang Rescue and Support Program (GRASP) two years ago, which connected him with PeaceJam. Teasley said that PeaceJam has transformed his life. He has left gang life and works with GRASP to help other young people do the same.
PeaceJam’s 10th anniversary celebration will take place on the University of Denver campus and will feature sessions for PeaceJam participants, an internationally-televised press conference, master classes, lectures and a public concert and talk featuring all of the attending Nobel Peace Laureates.
“DU’s participation in PeaceJam is another example of our engagement with the City of Denver and the community,” said University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe. “The University’s international ties continue to grow, and an event like this one benefits our students by allowing them to hear from world leaders.”
Local foundations and businesses have donated a total of $1.5 million thus far toward conference logistics, accommodations, food and travel for the student attendees and Nobel Laureates. PeaceJam intends to raise an additional $760,000 to underwrite the costs of the event.
“PeaceJam's goal to promote tolerance, equality and community activism fits well with our mission,” said Patricia Evert, Leverage Center Director for the Gill Foundation, which operates the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado. “We encourage other philanthropic organizations and corporations, not only in Denver but worldwide, to get involved with this historic event designed to educate and inspire the youth of the world.”
In addition to the University of Denver, the Gill Foundation and Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, sponsors to date include Rose Medical Center, Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P., the Fetzer Institute, Sage Hospitality Resources, Sodexho Food Service and dozens of Colorado citizens.
Longtime PeaceJam supporter Arvada Mayor Ken Fellman also expressed his anticipation for the Nobel Laureates’ trip to Denver and the international attention it will bring to the entire the metro region. The PeaceJam Foundation’s headquarters are in Arvada.
How to Get Involved in the PeaceJam Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
Denver-area residents have several ways to get involved in the PeaceJam conference in September.
• Donate to the PeaceJam Foundation. Underwriting packages are available that include VIP tickets to key conference events.
• Local youth ages 14-18 can become active participants in the PeaceJam program and will have the opportunity to attend the full conference.
• Attend of one of the public events during the conference, including a concert in honor of the Nobel Laureates and a talk by the Laureates. Tickets will go on sale in May.
For more information, contact PeaceJam at 303-455-2099 or visit www.PeaceJam.org.
PeaceJam is a year-long educational program built around Nobel Peace Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to inspire a new generation of peacemakers who will transform their local communities, themselves and the world.
Since PeaceJam was launched in 1996, more than 200,000 teenagers worldwide have participated in the program, and 105 PeaceJam Youth Conferences have been held worldwide, creating more than 250,000 community action projects. Additional PeaceJam youth conferences are scheduled in the United States and around the world.
At the end of November, PeaceJam Founders Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff will travel to Rome to accept the 2005 Man for Peace-Joseph Rotblat Prize from the Committee of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and The Mihkail Gorbachev Foundation.
# # #