L to r: Dr. Mary Honan, Mr Juan Manuel Santos Calderon and Dr. Michael Casey
The Tipperary International Peace Convention/Peace Award is, in Dr. Michael Casey’s words: ‘one of the few prestigious events in the Premier County of Tipperary, indeed on the Island of Ireland to link us, in the twenty first century, to a transnational audience.
“The enormous amount of work carried out by Mr. Joe Quinn (Chairman) and Mr. Martin Quinn (Honorary Secretary) and their Board on behalf of the convention is, to say the least, both admirable and noteworthy in a world that continues to be dominated by strife, famine, war and despotic forms of totalitarianism”.
Adding to this he said that, ‘we do not have to look further than events, past, present and on-going in the Crimea, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, India and Pakistan to be able to acknowledge the peace efforts by both men and their dedicated committee, currently including Mr. John Shanahan and Mr. Guy Jones, the president of the Irish/Lebanese Cultural Foundation (I.L.C.F).
Dr. Casey recalls his many discussions with Fellow/Professor Francis Sejersted (1936-2015) on the Good Friday/Belfast agreement (1999) and the Tipperary Peace Convention/Peace Award at various university symposia and diplomatic functions in Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki.
Although Dr. Sejersted – an historian and previous Chairman of the Nobel Committee (which awards the Nobel Peace Prize) – ‘was supportive of the Tipperary Peace Convention/Peace Award’, he was, nevertheless, somewhat critical of ‘the board’s provincial approach and lack of vision in terms of establishing a working dialogue with the Norwegian Nobel Peace committee (of the Norwegian Nobel Institute) and other international universities/faculties dealing with the notion of conflict resolution’.
Reflecting on the Irish government’s approach, Dr. Casey adds that, ‘successive Irish Taoisigh, Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Education, not to mention their secretary generals, have been ‘amazingly remiss in recognising the global significance and potential of the Tipperary Peace Convention/Peace Award’.
It is Dr. Casey’s considered opinion that ‘the Tipperary Peace Convention/Peace Award should, sooner, rather than later, establish an exchange of ideas and opinions (working dialogue) with the Peace Research Institute, Oslo’ (P.R.I.O).
Dr. Casey holds the view that we must continue to advocate a ‘practical and intellectual reverence for human life: a concern for social justice: challenges in inequality as well as an appreciation for the arts and sciences: respect for sexual orientation and, it goes without saying, political and religious freedom’.
Indeed, he argues that, such philosophy is evidenced in the true nature and ‘international significance of the Tipperary Peace Convention/Award; and, for the sake of humanity and all concerned with this great award, we can but hope it continues to gather impetus and momentum into the future’.