Compaz Foundation

Founder

Juan Manuel Santos

Former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize 2016

Excerpt from the speech given upon receiving the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

In a world where citizens are making the most crucial decisions – for themselves and for their nations – out of fear and despair, we must make the certainty of hope possible.

In a world where wars and conflicts are fuelled by hatred and prejudice, we must find the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.

In a world where borders are increasingly closed to immigrants, where minorities are attacked and people deemed different are excluded, we must be able to coexist with diversity and appreciate the way it can enrich our societies.

We are human beings after all. For those of us who are believers, we are all God’s children. We are part of this magnificent adventure of being alive and populating this planet.

At our core, there are no inherent differences: not the colour of our skin; nor our religious beliefs; nor our political ideologies, nor our sexual preferences. All these are simply facets of humanity’s diversity.

Let’s awaken the creative capacity for goodness, for building peace, that live within each soul.

In the end, we are one people and one race; of every colour, of every belief, of every preference.

The name of this one people is the world. The name of this one race is humanity.

If we truly understand this, if we make it part of our individual and collective awareness, then we will cut the very root of conflicts and wars.

In 1982 – 34 years ago – the efforts to find peace through dialogue began in Colombia.

That same year, in Stockholm, Gabriel García Márquez, who was my ally in the pursuit of peace, received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and spoke about “a new and sweeping utopia of life, (…) where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth.”

Today, Colombia – my beloved country – is living that second opportunity; and I thank you, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, because, on this occasion, you have not only awarded a prize to peace: you helped make it possible!

The sun of peace finally shines in the heavens of Colombia.

May its light shine upon the whole world!