Haverford’s plan to send four student delegates to the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates over fall break was forced to be abandoned following the summit’s suspension.
On September 16, four students learned from Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) that they’d been selected to represent Haverford at the summit. However, by October 1, these students had received word that they would no longer be traveling to Cape Town as a result of the summit’s suspension.
The summit, which was supposed to be held from October 12-15 in Cape Town, South Africa, was suspended after several Nobel Laureates decided to boycott the event because of South Africa’s refusal to issue His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama a visa, prohibiting him from attending.
Debbie Leter ’15, who had been selected to attend the summit in Cape Town, described her disappointment at the summit’s suspension, but recognized that the Laureates’ decision to boycott was done with noble intentions. However, she explained that it “would have been nice to have a bit more communication” from the Laureates to the people who intended to attend.
Though the CPGC organized funding for the Haverford delegation and was able to get a full refund for their tickets, many other youths who planned to attend did their own fundraising and were unable to cancel without penalty. Consequently, many youths still convened in Cape Town independently of the summit, but Haverford chose not to send its delegation there.
Following the boycott of South Africa, the Secretariat of the Nobel Committee attempted to relocate the summit to Rome, but with such short notice, was unable to get approval from the Mayor of Rome and Rome’s City Council. Thus, the summit will be suspended until further notice.
The 15th annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is scheduled to take place November 15-19, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. The CPGC has offered to reserve spots for the students accepted this year that will be neither graduated nor abroad during the summit next year.