A report of the International Conference on
"BERTHA SUTTNER IDEAS IN PRESENT TIME"
Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Prague
12-13 November 2005
The conference was held in the august building of the Czech Senate with ministers, Members of European Parliament, and ambassadors, speaking about the remarkable women, Nobel prize winner, Bertha Von Suttner. A primary school in Prague has been dedicated to her memory, committed to teaching children peace and disarmament issues via books, paintings, arts, music and exhibitions.
A parallel conference, hosted by Club of Madrid, was also being held in Prague at the same time. It was attended by ex head of states of different countries, who meet to discuss ways to solve world problems. Former US President, Bill Clinton, was among the attendees.
Speaker after speaker talked about Bertha Von Suttner’s ideas about disarmament, ending wars and military trade. A reference to her most celebrated novel, ‘Lay down your Arms,’ was mentioned many times during the conference.
Among the international speakers, Cora Weiss, from New York, Anne Kjelling from the Nobel Institute from Oslo, Vijay Metha and Peter Van den Dungen from the United Kingdom gave speeches at the conference.
Vijay Mehta spoke on international peace and security with special reference to two important documents which came in 2005.
1) The UN High-level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change.
2) The 2005 World Summit Outcome
He emphasised that governments and civil society need to work together to ensure the recommendations of the report were implemented to create a just, peaceful and sustainable world. By doing so, we will carrying forward Bertha Von Suttner’s legacy.
The delegates to the conference were treated to a reception by a Norwegian and Swedish embassies and a sightseeing tour of Prague by the organisers. It was a great networking opportunity, especially with delegates from East European countries.