Published on Friday, 30 November 2012 21:10
The International Crisis Group (ICG) will confer its "In Pursuit of Peace" award to President Thein Sein at an annual dinner party to be held in New York on April 22 next year.
ICG selected President Thein Sein and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil for their visionary leadership that transformed the lives of millions and brought forth the promise of a world free of conflict, ICG said in a statement.
ICG Chairman Thomas R. Pickering praised both President Thein Sein and President Lula for helping Myanmar and Brazil take significant steps forward and encourage a greater role for them in promoting regional and international diplomacy following years of isolation.
“Myanmar has initiated a remarkable and unprecedented set of reforms since President Thein Sein’s government took over in March 2011, including freeing hundreds of political prisoners, liberalising the press and promoting dialogue with the main opposition party,” said Louise Arbour, president of ICG.
Still, the country has seen very significant progress: for the first time in almost 50 years, all but one of the ethnic armed groups have signed preliminary ceasefires with the government, and it is hoped that an agreement will also soon be reached with the Kachin Independence Organization, the statement said.
ICG has also urged Myanmar to find ways to address communal violence between the ethnic Rakhine and the Bengalis in northwestern Myanmar.
ICG will host its annual award dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York. Previous recipients include US Presidents George H.W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton, Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari and American senator George J. Mitchell. Bono, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan, Philip Glass and James Taylor have also contributed their talents in support of previous galas.
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