In October 2006 the Consortium for Peace Studies inaugurated the Calgary Peace Prize, which was awarded to Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima, Japan. The Calgary Peace Prize Dinner is the Consortium’s premier public event and its major fundraiser. This year’s recipient was His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Prince has a long record of service in the interests of global peace. From 1999 to 2006 he served as Moderator of the World Conference of Religions for Peace; concurrently he was President of the Club of Rome and co-chaired the United Nations Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues. He is the author of 5 books, the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and a tireless worker on behalf of inter-religious understanding. A figure of international stature and influence, Prince El Hassan has played a key role in furthering global understanding at the highest levels. The Consortium was honoured that the Prince agreed to accept the Prize.
The Second Annual Calgary Peace Prize Dinner was held on March 31, 2008 in Calgary with over two hundred guests attending. The Prince was unfortunately unable to attend in person, however he delivered his acceptance speech via teleconferencing, emphasizing the importance of developing a new paradigm for human relations at the global level. He spoke eloquently about the empowerment of the poor through legal rights as a key element in avoiding civil strife. His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, Mr. Norman Kwong, and the Chancellor of the University of Calgary, Ms. Joanne Cuthbertson, presented the Prize in absentia to Professor Uner Turgay of the Islamic Studies Institute, McGill University, who accepted it on behalf of His Royal Highness. The well-known singer, Raffi, provided entertainment. The Consortium prepared a short DVD of the dinner, which was sent to HRH.
On the gracious invitation of Prince Hassan, Consortium Co-chair Professor George Melnyk traveled to Amman, Jordan at the end of April to present the Calgary Peace Prize to His Royal Highness in person. Chancellor Cuthbertson accompanied Prof. Melnyk to invest His Royal Highness with a Honourary Degree from the University of Calgary. The conferral of the degree was held in the morning at the residence of the Prince and in the evening the Calgary Peace Prize was presented at the residence of the Canadian ambassador to Jordan and Iraq, Ms. Margaret Huber. Both the Chancellor and Prof. Melnyk were guests of the Prince during their stay in Jordan. One of the outcomes of the trip to Jordan was an invitation from the Prince’s office to host student interns from Alberta as an educational exchange. To read Prince El Hassan bin Talal’s acceptance speech, please click here.