Past RI President Sakuji Tanaka joined global leaders 2-3 September in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Peace Palace in The Hague, an international symbol of peace and justice. The two-day symposium, Celebrating Peace Philanthropy and Furthering Peace Education – In the Footsteps of Andrew Carnegie, is part of a month-long centennial celebration.
The palace, completed in 1913 and financed mostly by a gift from Andrew Carnegie, is home to a number of international judicial institutions, including the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Tanaka, who made peace a focus of his year as president, shared Rotary’s longstanding commitment to peace, and described how the 11-year-old Rotary Peace Centers program has been developing leaders who serve as catalysts for peace and conflict resolution in their communities and around the globe.
“There is no other program like ours in the world,” said Tanaka. “The diversity of our students is incredible. They come from every background, from dozens of different countries. They are united only by their desire for a more peaceful world—and the Rotary Peace Fellows program, helps them to bring that world closer.”
During the symposium, more than a dozen leaders spoke on the importance of peace education and nuclear disarmament, including William Thomson, great grandson of Andrew Carnegie and honorary president of the Carnegie UK Trust; Gillian Sorenson, senior adviser to the UN Foundation, established to manage philanthropist Ted Turner’s gift of $1 billion to the UN; and Federico Mayor, former director general of UNESCO.
Other events included a reception, gala, and the official opening of the Peace Palace Centenary Exhibition in the atrium of the City Hall in The Hague. This traveling exhibit showcases the changing tradition of peace philanthropy. The symposium was organized by the International Network of Museums for Peace in cooperation with the Carnegie Foundation.
“Peace cannot be created by one person, or one government, no matter how great their effort or their resources. Peace can only come when we work together toward the same goal,” said Tanaka.
Tanaka also exchanged ideas about peace with Rotary members and their guests at a mini-symposium held 1 September and organized by Rotary clubs in The Hague.