Oscar Arias and José Ramos-Horta have something in common: they are both Members of the Club de Madrid and Nobel Peace Laureates. They were laureates in 1987 and 1996 respectively for their contributions to achieving peace. “We believe that justice and peace can only thrive together, never apart.”, said Arias during his acceptance speech in 1987. He was awarded for being a “peace-broker in Central America” as he designed a plan to end the civil wars that were happening at the time in the región. His peace plan, approved in 1987, advocated for free elections, safeguards for human rights, and an end to foreign interference in the countries’ internal affairs.
Twelve years later, José Ramos-Horta, who recently visited the headquarters of the Club de Madrid on his way to the summit, received the price in 1996 for being “a tireless diplomat”. He resisted Indonesian occupation of his country peacefully. He left the country and travelled around the world advocating for the independence of East Timor, being the youngest person ever addressing the UN Security Council. He advocated for dialogue with Indonesia and in 1992 presented a peace plan based on reconciliation both at the national level and with the occupying power. Indonesia left the country and East Timor achieved self-determination.
Both former Presidents are accompanied by two other Club de Madrid Members and former Presidents of Colombia, Andrés Pastrana and César Gaviria. The four of them will attend sessions about peace and reconciliation, peace and education, peace and private sector, peace and youth, among others.
“Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions by many people in many countries. It is an attitude, a way of life, a way of solving problems and resolving conflicts. It cannot be forced on the smallest nation or enforced by the largest. It cannot ignore our differences or overlook our common interests. It requires us to work and live together.”, said wisely Oscar Arias in 1987, a sentence valid today that we must not forget.
We are very proud and honoured to have them as Members and contributor to the mission Club de Madrid promotes, which is democracy, human rights, and rule of law. Thank you for being part of a Democracy that Delivers.
Their acceptance speeches: