Laureates to bring message of peace to Chicago

April 9, 2012 3:20:38 PM PDT
Laureates will bring their messages of peace, human rights, and individual responsibility to students, government leaders, international dignitaries and the general public when Chicago hosts the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates April 23 - 25.

Hancock high school on Chicago's Southwest Side will get a special visit later this month and some students are learning about their guest Mairead Maguire.

"I'm actually really excited because someone who won a Nobel Peace Prize," said student Mauricia Castro. "It's one of the greatest honors you can get."

Maguire, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts bringing peace in Northern Ireland, will be among several Nobel Peace laureates in Chicago for a world summit April 23.

"It sets my mind to saying that maybe if I really what to change something I can as long as I have the motivation to do it, then I can," said student Alexa Rosas.

"Not everybody really has the drive to do that," student Carlos Muniz said. "And for them to finally take a stand and get other people to join them is great."

The Chicago Community Trust is helping coordinate the laureates with young Chicagoans.

"If we can help young people to understand the role they play to be to be courageous and take a stand that and be smart about the choices they are making, they play a vital part to putting an end to violence in our neighborhoods," said Community Trust's Terry Mazany.

Some Chicago teachers been working on a curriculum called Speak Truth to Power with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, which is also sponsoring the summit.

Teacher Dan Holder sees a vital importance of empowering students.

"It's not just memorizing and learning the details of this person's life, but taking that story internalizing it in your own setting and making it your own story and making a change," he said.

Among some of the other laureates who attend the summit and visit schools are Lech Walesa, Oscar Arias and Mickael Gorbachov. This will the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, but the first time it will take place in North America.