“We’ve won a peace prize!”, Jeremy sounded at once elated and surprised. On 1 December this year Jeremy and Peace One Day officially receive the Carnegie-Wateler Peace Prize 2010.
The prize is given every second year to private persons or institutions ‘who have furthered the cause of peace’ and draws on the legacy bequeathed to the state of the Netherlands by Dutch banker J.G.D. Wateler in 1927. The prize is now administered by the world renowned Carnegie Foundation, owner and management-authority of the Peace Palace in The Hague.
“It’s such an honour”, Jeremy told me. “My films have won awards in the past and it’s always very gratifying to be recognised, but we’ve never received anything quite like this”.
Previous recipients of the Carnegie-Wateler Peace Prize include names as diverse as Lord Baden-Powell, Doctors without Borders, Mrs. Martin Luther King, The Salvation Army, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, UNHCR and UNICEF.
When Jeremy is handed the prize by Dr. Bernard Bot, Chairman of the Carnegie Foundation, it will bring to a close an extraordinary year for the non-profit Peace One Day; a year that has seen an unprecedented level of activity on Peace Day. Each year Peace One Day produces a report that charts global participation on Peace Day from all sectors of society. That process of collation began in advance of the Peace Day this year, partly in preparation for Jeremy’s interview and debate with Jeremy Paxman and Ann Leslie on Newsnight (Peace Day 21 September). Even a casual internet news search of ‘Peace Day’, ‘International Day of Peace’ or ‘Peace One Day’ revealed an astonishing volume and breadth of activity on Peace Day this year. Page after page after page of concerts, art exhibitions, sports events, conferences, peace walks, events in schools and much more; but also national/government commemorations and of course many humanitarian activities focused on Peace Day (88 Humanitarian or life-saving activities by 28 organisations in 31 countries in honour of Peace Day this year), including in Afghanistan for the fourth consecutive year.
“I know it sounds like a cliché”, said Jeremy, “but a prize like this really does honour every individual or group that has embraced Peace Day. The day only works because people get behind it. Have a look for yourself, do your own internet news search and you’ll see what I mean”.