The Mahathir Award for Global Peace, founded and actively driven forth by Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, who is Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Mahathir Award for Global Peace and a peace advocate, having campaigned for restoration of war torn countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine, and many others, was launched on the 27th August 2013.
The Mahathir Award for Global Peace is an international peace award instituted by the Mahathir Global Peace Foundation, a Foundation formed to contribute towards worldwide peace efforts. It is named after Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, His Excellency Tun Dr. Mahathir, who also is an active peace advocate.
Peace advocate and freedom fighter, former South African President His Excellency Nelson Mandela was conferred the inaugural award of Lifetime Campaigner for Peace and Freedom Award, which was received on his behalf by South African President His Excellency Jacob Zuma.
The inauguration was held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, attended by dignitaries from around world, including, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah binti Mansor, Limkokwing University President and founder, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir, South African President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by his wife, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Ministers, High Commissioners, Ambassadors, representatives, media, and youth from different Malaysian universities.
When addressing the audience at the event’s opening, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing said the Award is ‘more than a recognition for peace effort’ but rather a ‘yardstick of which will identify the role models for youth.’
He said by conferring Nelson Mandela the award, the Foundation was bestowing hope for the future, so that the youth may follow in his footsteps.
‘Nelson Mandela exemplifies the revolution we need to produce in our hearts to remove our prejudices, our hatred, our envy, our bitterness and by doing so transform into a civilized people of one planet,’ he said.
Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing and Nelson Mandela’s relationship goes back to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, which ultimately toppled the apartheid rule, in which Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing actively headed the campaign.
Also at the inauguration, Tun Dr. Mahathir, who described Nelson Mandela as a personal friend, said it was fitting that Nelson Mandela was the first to receive the award because he truly represented peace and harmony.
Talking about the time he met Nelson Mandela after he was released from Robben Island, where he had been imprisoned for twenty-seven years, he said,
‘I was expecting a broken or bitter man. Instead, I found a man who was extremely rational and who thought of nothing but the welfare and well-being of the people of South Africa.’
On his response, President Zuma, who was in Malaysia for three days on an official appointment, and also to receive an Honorary Doctorate for Humanity from Limkokwing University, said he and the people of South Africa where grateful for the honour bestowed upon their leader, and where ‘happy to share Nelson Mandela with the world’. He said giving the award to Nelson Mandela, ‘a man who has demonstrated a remarkable ability for forgiveness and reconciliation, which are the main building blocks for peace,’ highlights the Foundation’s mission of working tirelessly towards world peace.
When giving the award, Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak said it was every nation’s responsibility to ‘break through the past and create a better future, to secure a just and lasting peace.’
He further said that the world need to focus more on tolerance and understanding, rather than picking up arms to resolve conflict.
‘Peace can only be achieved if we are willing to constructively engage each other, to substitute dialogue in place of conflict,’ he said.
Also at the event, Tun Dr. Mahathir was awarded the Lifetime Campaigner for Global Peace, and the Limkokwing Choir performed the theme song for the Mahathir Award for Global Peace, titled ‘Voices for the future’. They also dedicated the song ‘You raise me up’ to Nelson Mandela and Tun Dr. Mahathir.
The Mahathir Award for Global Peace will be presented annually by the Mahathir Peace Foundation, and it will be given in seven categories, being Peace Communication, Peace Mediation, Peace Innovation, Peace Philanthropy, Peace Education, and Youth of Peace Award.