I am always looking forward to see who are honored with the Nobel peace prize. Usually the winner of this prestigious award has done a lot to promote peace or fight injustice in a part of the world that deserves international attention – a Nobel peace prize facilitates that attention very effectively.
I was however surprised the Barack Obama was awarded the price in 2009. First of all – he hadn’t achieved anything yet and secondly – United States has no problem drawing attention to its internal affairs. Then this year it was given to Europe, and I must say that I think it was a very clever move by the Nobel prize committee.
In Europe we are going through a period where a north – south division seems to develop. The wealthy, well-structured north versus the poorer, less structured south. If we allow that division to grow the political and social tensions in Europe might grow to a level where a serious conflict is inevitable. In my local tribe, Denmark, there is a growing intolerance for what is happening in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal and I can see similar patterns develop in Germany.
I have worked for cultural reconciliation for more than a decade and when you start emphasizing the differences instead of the commonalities in a group I can tell you that we are in serious trouble. All groups small or large have internal differences, but the social contract convinces us to focus on the commonalities and work on reconciling the differences simply because we know that being alone or de-fracmented is much worse than fighting to solve the internal challenges.
We have to remind ourselves how little it take to start a war. World War 1 started with a single shot in Sarajevo and the recent war in Libya started with a single man putting himself on fire. We must never forget that democracy and peace doesn’t come for free. The are values we have to fight for no matter what happens.
The Nobel peace Prize to Europe is a warning and reminder to us. Both world wars started in Europe and we can end up in a similar situation if we break the social contract.
I am a wholehearted advocate for cultural diversity and I have turned it into my core competence to help companies and organisations to embrace it and learn how to take advantage of it. And they are willing to learn because they can see the results almost instantly. I just wonder why we don’t have the same intelligence when it comes to making a culturally diversified continent work.
Maybe too many people have read Samuel Huntingtons paper on the Clash of Civilizations or maybe too many people are too young (myself included) to having experienced on their own body what happened during world war 2.
When people today are talking about that we are in a financial crisis it can only be bacause they have never experienced a real life-threatening crisis. And I do hope it stays that way kindly promoted by the Nobel Peace prize.
Dr. Finn Majlergaard
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