SPEECH BY DR. TAJELDIN HAMAD, SECRETARY GENERAL OF WANGO AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE 2012 UNIVERSAL PEACE AWARD TO PROF. IBRAHIM GAMBARI – ILORIN, KWARA STATE, NIGERIA
Excellencies, Distinguish guests, Salam and warmest greetings from New York!
Dear Professor Gambari,
Your life has been one of extraordinary service to humanity. From serving as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Political Issues to heading the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission, among other eminent posts (Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Special Envoy to Myanmar, Head of the UN Mission to Angola, UN Special Adviser on Africa, etc.), you have served this world to an exceptional level. It is because of your service that you are one of the world’s most respected and admired leaders.
It is because of such a lifetime of service for others that I am delighted to inform you that you have been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Universal Peace Award, the highest award given to individuals by the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).
As you are no doubt aware, WANGO is one of the world’s largest, general purpose, international membership association for NGOs, with over 40,000 members and subscribers in over 120 nations. The Association’s membership encompasses the vast spectrum of the NGO world, ranging from small non-profits focused on their local communities to major, international organizations with global agendas, from the least developed nations to the richest countries. WANGO’s mission is to service its member organizations, strengthen and encourage the non-governmental sector as a whole, increase public understanding of the non-governmental community, and provide the mechanism and support needed for NGOs to connect, partner, and multiply their contributions to solve humanity’s basic problems.
The WANGO Award is one of the world’s pre-eminent awards for NGOs, as well as for prominent individuals serving humanity. Past recipients of the Universal Peace Award include Dr. Federico Mayor, Director General of UNESCO; H. R. H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand; H. E. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia; native American leader Chief Oren Lyons, and Mr. Bill Drayton, CEO and Chair of Ashoka.
NGOs that are award recipients include Rotary International, Bahrain Women’s Society, Free the Children, SurfAid International, Roots of Peace, and Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress (received by President and Nobel laureate Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez). In 2003, WANGO recognized the Green Belt Movement of Dr. Wangari Maathai, the year before she received the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2004 WANGO recognized Small Kindness, an award received by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) before he was recognized at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
In taking the decision to present you with the Universal Peace Award, the WANGO International Council, and the Awards Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Noel Brown, President of Friends of the United Nations, were most impressed with your lifetime of service in dealing with some of the most difficult situations in the world in terms of conflict and humanitarian suffering. Your appointment to UNAMID came at a time when at least 300,000 people were estimated to have died form the conflict in Darfur and another 2.7 million people displaced. You have served in Iraq during challenging times, as well as in Myanmar and Angola. You also have served as President of the UN Security Council and chaired the UN Special Committee against Apartheid that successfully saw the demise of apartheid in South Africa. Your leadership and drive to make a better world is rare and you have made a most unique accomplishment for humanity. It is our hope that your legacy and exemplary leadership will continue, and serve as a testimony to others, and for these reasons WANGO is proud to select you for the 2012 award.