2013 Forum Theme – “The Power of Ideas: People and Peace”

What makes an idea powerful? What makes an idea catch fire, permeate our consciousness, and change the way we live, think, and act? As Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, one of my favorite parts of my job is identifying a theme for each year’s event. This year is no exception. We have two Nobel Peace Prize winners scheduled to speak, both of whom have harnessed the power of an idea to benefit an entire community. For that reason we decided on “The Power of Ideas: People and Peace” as the official theme of the 2013 Forum. 

Nobel Peace Prize winners are masters of taking impossible ideas and converting them into concrete actions that change the world for the better. A few examples:

What caused Iowa farm boy Norman Borlaug to imagine a world where mass starvation could be replaced by food security born of scientific discovery?

How did Muhammad Yunus conclude it was economically rational and financially feasible to lend tiny amounts of money to impoverished women? 

Why did Tawakkol Karman, growing up in Yemen under one of the world’s most repressive regimes, think she could improve the lives of women and advance democratic change?

A powerful idea is not necessarily one that is initially viewed as feasible or that arises from a well-known, well-regarded source. With today’s lens we might think that the Green Revolution, micro-lending and the Arab Spring were natural evolutions, predestined to occur. But at the time these ideas were advanced, they were in many respects ridiculous and their champions disregarded.

Even as some of today’s most pressing problems seem too daunting to be solved, the ideas of remarkable people give us tangible evidence that peace and security can be found. On March 8-10, 2013, the 25th Nobel Peace Prize Forum will put ideas, people and peace under the spotlight. A little knowledge of history should give us remarkable hope for the future.

Maureen K. Reed
Executive Director
Nobel Peace Prize Forum 

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4 Responses to 2013 Forum Theme – “The Power of Ideas: People and Peace”

  1. Keith Gibson says:

    I nominate Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize

  2. Johnnie Barber says:

    I very interested in getting information on how to apply for the free field trip on March 8. 2013

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