A prescient vision of our shared global future. It is taken from the speeches and exchanges of eight visionary recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, who gathered at the University of Virginia in November 1998 for two days of extraordinary dialogue. From the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lamai to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's description of chairing South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, their conversation ranged from familiar international relations issues to areas traditionally excluded from such discourse, like the need for personal transformation and community organizing. The speakers also included Betty Williams, Jody Williams and Bobby Muller, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Jose Ramos-Horta and Harn Yawnghwe. As the author articulates, these leaders all seem to subscribe to a broader set of truths that are not necessarily self-evident - that human beings can easily become locked into self-perpetuating ""systems of suspicion and violence"" at any level, from the interpersonal through the international; that when one is inside such a system it can be hard to see it and to recognize one's role within it; but that each one of us has the capacity to make a leap from self-centredness toward greater understanding. But while the stories are primarily of personal and political triumph, they also tell of great sacrifice, conflict and pain.
A former Middle East correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, Helena Cobban now writes a regular column on global affairs for the Christian Science Monitor. She has published four books on war and peace issues in the Middle East. Cobban also sits on an advisory committee for Human Rights Watch and is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies.