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Mandela the first recipient of the Mahathir Award for Global Peace
Publication Date : 28-08-2013
The inaugural Mahathir Award for Global Peace has been awarded to former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Current South African president Jacob Zuma accepted the award on Mandela’s behalf.
Describing Mandela as a friend, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said it was appropriate that the South African leader was the first recipient of the award as he was truly a man of peace.
“I remember the first time I met Mandela in Zambia just after he was released from prison in Robben Island.
“I was expecting a broken or bitter man for he had spent 27 years in jail. Instead, I found a man who was extremely rational and who thought nothing but the welfare and well-being of the people in Africa,” he said.
Mahathir said Mandela should have been bitter but the former president told him that he had made friends with the jailers who provided him with newspapers to read.
The Mahathir Award for Global Peace will be presented annually to recognise those who have made valiant efforts in promoting peace.
During his keynote address at the launch of the Mahathir Award for Global Peace here yesterday, Mahathir said election candidates in all countries should pledge to abstain from war so that governments in the world would be dedicated to upholding peace.
He said that voters should not pick election candidates who do not make such a pledge.
“The world is getting more democratic. People have the right to choose their governments and leaders,” he said.
Such a move, he said, would lead to the world having governments dedicated to peace.
“The future generation has a role to play. It is going to be a long struggle but I am sure if young people realise the need to criminalise war, the need to promote peace, then God willing, peace can be achieved,” he said.
The Mahathir Award for Global Peace is an international peace award by the Mahathir Global Peace Foundation, which was formed to contribute to global peace efforts.
During the event, the foundation presented Mahathir with the Lifetime Campaigner for Global Peace award.