- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 30, 2004

Seeks peacemakers

Like a Marine Corps recruiting officer, a former South Korean diplomat is looking for a few good men — or women.

However, he is not seeking warriors.

Sohn Woo-hyun is on a worldwide hunt for candidates to receive this year’s Seoul Peace Prize. He stopped in Washington last week to meet with analysts at the Cato Institute, which gives an annual prize for economic liberty. This year’s recipient is Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto.

Mr. Sohn, secretary-general of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that his search is not limited to politicians or diplomats involved in peace negotiations in some remote area of conflict.

“These days, the concept of peace is broadening,” he said. “It does not only mean the freedom from war. It can mean promoting a nation’s welfare or alleviating hunger or suffering.”

Seoul Peace Prize winners have included U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the international medical group Doctors Without Borders. Both later received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. Sohn noted the symbolism of South Korea’s sponsorship of a peace prize because of the division of Korea into a democratic south and a repressive, dictatorial north.

“The Korean Peninsula remains the last vestige of the Cold War. The peace prize has more significance because of that,” he said.

The peace prize, which includes a $200,000 cash award, was created in 1990 and is given every two years. It commemorates the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, which, as Mr. Sohn noted, saw the United States and Soviet Union competing against each other after the United States boycotted the 1980 Games and the Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Games.

The United States refused to attend the 1980 Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union retaliated in 1984 by boycotting the Los Angeles Games.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, giving the Seoul Games the distinction of being the last Cold War Olympics.

Mr. Sohn arrived last week in New York, where he met human rights activists. He left Washington over the weekend, heading toward Berlin, Geneva and Paris before returning home.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Tomorrow

• Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who will meet with President Bush, senior administration officials and members of Congress this week. He will discuss Iraq and the war on terrorism and urge congressional leaders to support a free trade treaty between the United States and Australia. On Friday, he attends a 12:30 p.m. luncheon at the National Press Club, which is open only to members and guests.

• Kassymzhomart Tokaev, foreign minister of Kazakhstan, who meets with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and congressional leaders this week.

Wednesday

• Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili, who addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Thursday

• Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, foreign minister of Malaysia, who leads a delegation of the Organization of the Islamic Congress for a meeting with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Other members represent Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Senegal and Turkey. He will hold a 11 a.m. press conference at the Malaysian Embassy.

• Jaime Salinas, a candidate for president of Peru, who addresses the Council of the Americas.

• Argentine business leaders Miguel Angel Gutierrez, former chairman and chief executive officer of Spain’s Telefonica in Argentina, and Carlos Tramutola, president of the Startt Corp. consulting firm. They address the Inter-American Dialogue.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide