News Release

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rebuffs U.S. State Department on Upcoming Summit


Mairead Maguire, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on Ireland and was scheduled to attend the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates this month in Chicago, has canceled her appearance citing a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the State Department is an “active partner” in the event. Maguire notified associates, including other Nobel Prize Laureates, of her decision in a letter the Institute for Public Accuracy has obtained and is below.

The Nobel Summit leads up to the NATO Summit in Chicago. A video of Clinton’s recent remarks is available here.

Critics of the State Department and NATO applauded Maguire’s decision:

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of “Tackling America’s Toughest Questions.” He said today: “It is well known that the so-called Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by Norwegian politicians and that Norway is a member of NATO. In other words the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by NATO politicians in order to further their own political interests. And now we have the Nobel Prizers finally come out of the NATO closet.” Boyle derided the notion of the U.S. State Department using the Nobel Peace Prize at the upcoming “NATO WARFEST in Chicago. But of course the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger. Nobel ‘Peace Prize’? Tell that to millions in war after war — Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now threatening Syria and Iran.”

Boyle — who was a leading lawyer defending protesters during the fight against apartheid South Africa — noted that a video has also been released of former apartheid South African President Willem de Klerk touting his scheduled participation and interaction with Chicago students in conjunction with the upcoming events. Boyle noted that de Klerk “avoided testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — so from him there was no truth, no accountability, no prosecution.”

Author of “The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted,” Heffermehl said today: “I take the Mairead Maguire boycott of the Chicago event as a rising awareness of how far the Peace Prize has wandered from the original peace vision of Alfred Nobel, a world peace order based on global law and disarmament. Nobel wished to help a development in the direct opposite direction of what the U.S. and NATO are pursuing and it is particularly pertinent to abstain from participation in a Nobel event hosted by the U.S. State Department.”

“The Norwegian parliamentarians entrusted with the award have transformed it to suit their own political ideas and led Swedish authorities to initiate an investigation of the peace prize awards. The probe ended last month with an order to the Nobel Foundations to do a major overhaul, checking the purpose Nobel had in mind and giving clear instructions to ensure that all awards comply with the purpose.”

Mairead Maguire sent this letter out to fellow Nobel Peace Laureates and other associates on Friday:

Dear Friends,

I write to let you know that I have decided not to attend the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates on 23rd-25th April, 2012, in Chicago, USA.

On 10th April, Sec. of State H. Clinton appeared on video [on the U.S. State Department website] announcing plans for the forthcoming Nobel Peace Laureates Summit and said ‘The U.S. Department of State is proud to be an active partner in this event’. Sec. Clinton gave details of how the U.S. State Dept. is working with U.S. embassies around the world, to bring 20 students and four teachers from four countries to Chicago and explained that video conferences and portals for live streaming of events, will be managed by U.S. State Department.

I have now decided, with some sadness, not to be associated in this Partnership as I do not agree with many of the policies of the U.S. State Department. Indeed I have, as a Nobel Peace Laureate, (and in the spirit of Alfred Nobel) often called for disbandment of NATO, end of militarism and war, and for disarmament and demilitarization. I cannot therefore, in good conscience, be part of a Partnership with the U.S. State Government (NATO). I also believe that my participation in such a partnership would compromise my position and put in jeopardy my work in the Middle East and other countries.

I am very disappointed that what is a great opportunity for young people, the Nobel Laureates and organizations to listen, learn, and exchange friendships and experiences, has been, I believe, seriously compromised in such a Partnership.

However, I hope it will be an enjoyable and educational summit particularly for all the young people, and I am deeply saddened not to be with you all.

Mairead Maguire
Peace People, Northern Ireland

Video of Willem de Klerk