Atlanta has officially taken up the baton for next year’s conference bringing together Nobel Peace Prize laureates from around the world.
In Rome last week, Mayor Kasim Reed participated in a handover ceremony that recognized his city as the host for the 2015 event.
“(The trip) also represented a unique opportunity to meet many Nobel Peace laureates and invite them personally to Atlanta in the fall of next year,” Claire Angelle, director of international affairs for the City of Atlanta, told Global Atlanta by email.
Originally scheduled for October, the 2014 conference was moved to Rome, home of the Nobel Permanent Secretariat, from Cape Town after the South African government allegedly failed to process a visa for the Dalai Lama, apparently bowing to pressure from China. Beijing considers the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist. Six laureates boycotted the conference to protest the move, forcing its postponement.
Atlanta leaders don’t foresee any similar problems next year. The Dalai Lama usually has no trouble gaining a visa for U.S. travel, and he has been a frequent visitor to Atlanta, as Emory University maintains scientific study exchanges with his institutions.
Laura Turner Seydel, who heads up the committee organizing 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, was also in Rome with the mayor, who was spotted on Twitter shaking hands with the Dalai Lama and other leaders.