What Convinced Mikhail Gorbachev To Award The Nobel Peace Prize To Children?

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

We need to ask and answer challenging questions if we are to challenge established traditions and make a positive difference in the world.

You may know that Malala Yousafzai was the first child to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. However, what you probably didn't know is that it was only because of a decision by the last leader of the Soviet Union; Mikhail Gorbachev, that this was even possible! The inspiring story of how things changed started with the paradigm-shifting experience of successful businessman Marc Dullaert whilst overseas which he described in his own words:

"One morning on the border of Sierra Leone I was woken by an awful sound. It sounded like an animal in distress. I stepped outside and saw a mother from a nearby refugee camp holding her child that had passed away. I was filming documentaries for my television production company and our vehicle had broken down the day before, resulting in us sleeping on the passenger seats. It was an incident that was to change my life forever. Seeing that mother holding her dead child was like being struck by lightning and I knew that I had to do something."

It was this experience that changed Mr Dullaert's life. He subsequently sold his business and set up the KidsRights Foundation. Then after watching a documentary of an inspiring 11-year-old he asked the question, “Why can’t a child win the Nobel Peace Prize?”. Through following his curiosity he then found out that the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize had a statute that had been in place for more than 100 years that prevented children from winning the award.

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