'Speak out loud for world peace'

Jodie Williams (L) and Richard Roberts

The Russia-Ukraine war has been a reminder that everyone has a role to play in halting war and establishing peace. Everyone must speak out loud for world peace. The demonstration by American students against the Vietnam War is a shining example of protest. That movement proved how important the role of youth is for change.

These remarks were made by two Nobel laureates, Jodie Williams and Richard Roberts, at an international webinar on Friday evening. The webinar also questioned how inevitable this war had been.

The webinar, 'Is war inevitable? Can we shift the paradigm?', was jointly organised by North South University's South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) and Prothom Alo.

American political rights activist Jodie Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines. She said everyone must have an active role to stop the war. Everyone must speak out loud so that this is the last war. It is nothing but madness to simply sit back and let just a handful of people decide the fate of humanity.

Referring to various movements around the world including for the halt to the Vietnam War, Jodie Williams said it is imperative to have a role in change. People are reluctant to join movements, they hesitate. To end the inevitability of war, one must change and garner courage to join the protest.

British scientist Richard Roberts in 1993 won the Nobel Prize in medical science for his contribution to DNA and gene research. He is now organising the Nobel laureates with the aim to establish peace in Ukraine. He said, people all over the world must raise their voice to bring an end to nuclear weapons. It is unfortunate but true that while there is public opinion in favour of this, the UK and France remain steadfast in their decision to take their nuclear programmes ahead. And so Putin is proceeding in his own way, well aware that the West is too weak to counter him.

Agreeing with Jodie Williams, Richard Roberts said that he too did not feel that this war was inevitable. However, one must join the movement to end war. During the Vietnam War, the American students had taken to the streets and said, enough is enough, stop the war now. That was an excellent example of protest. The youth can play a vital role in change. The world's future is in their hands.

Criticising the role of the United Nations in the Russia-Ukraine war, Richard Roberts said this war has once again proven the failure of the United Nations. When China and Russia have the veto power in the Security Council, then no decision can be taken. As a result, the United Nations cannot play any role in world peace. The time has come to build up an institution in place of the United Nations.

Security analyst Brig. Gen. M Sakhawat Hossain (retd) said, it is because of the role played by the countries of the West that the Russia-Ukraine war began. This situation was created 14 months ago due to the role of the US and NATO.

Chairman of North South University's board of trustees, Azim Uddin Ahmad, said that such discussions will continue in the days to come with the aim of establishing peace at home and abroad.

Assistant professor of North South University, Ishrat Zakaria Sultana, moderated the webinar. Professor Helal Uddin Ahmed of the university presented the opening remarks.

The webinar was chaired by the vice chancellor of North South University, Atiqul Islam. He said, the United Nations needs to undergo reforms as it has become an ineffective institution. If this is not done, then it should be abolished.

In the closing remarks, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman said that it was good to be a co-organiser of this initiative. The statements of the two Nobel laureates were particularly inspiring. They spoke of the role of each and everyone in making the world a better place to live in. They also brought forward the importance of role of the youth in the use of social media.