Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nobel laureates discuss problems of modern era

May 19, 2005

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— Elie Wiesel, the Dalai Lama and other Nobel Prize laureates on Wednesday debated solutions to challenges facing the modern world in an ancient locale -- the rose red city of Petra, carved out 2,000 years ago.

The meeting's host, Jordan's King Abdullah II, challenged participants to come up with a fresh approach to problems like terrorism, extremism and violence.

"We need you to help shift perceptions, develop solutions, recommend specific actions and make change happen," he said in an address to the gathering.

The two-day conference, entitled "a world in danger," is co-sponsored by Wiesel's New York-based Foundation for Humanity and brings together politicians, scientists, economists and humanitarians -- including 25 Nobel Prize winners.

Former President Clinton was expected to join the meeting on Thursday.

Also participating was American actor Richard Gere, who has taken an interest in Mideast politics during several visits to the region.

"We can find solutions if we see ourselves as a human family. Part of this is acknowledging suffering. Forgiveness comes out of acknowledging suffering. Both sides can work on this emotionally," Gere told The Associated Press on the conference sidelines.

"I see this continually when I see Israelis and Palestinians. From the Palestinian sides, there is always an emotional plea. From the Israeli sides it's technical," said Gere, who has made several trips to Israel and the West Bank to encourage their leaders to put behind past differences.

Gere warmly greeted Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, a 1994 Nobel Peace prize winner.

Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, called terrorism the world's greatest threat. "Suicide terrorists are the new plague of the 21st century," he told the AP. He said terrorism "can spread like cancer and then who knows what."

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