The World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize laureates is an annual meeting of Nobel laureates organized in 1999 by then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni and President Mikhail Gorbachev.
The early Summit organizers had the idea to present an annual award from the Nobel laureates to recognize individuals “from the world of culture and entertainment who have stood up for human rights and for the spread of the principles of Peace and Solidarity in the world, [and] made an outstanding contribution to international social justice and peace.“
In 2003 the Summit organizers brought Mary Wald and TheCommunity.com on board to help organize the award and bring it to the next level. She organized the nomination for recipients of the award from the Nobel Peace Prize winners, and once selected, worked with the recipients and their staff to arrange travel, and other arrangements, coordinated their publicity, and personally attended the artists receiving the award.
The 2004 Man of Peace was the first recipient to receive the award under Mary’s organization. It was presented to Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). The award was presented only months after an immigration debacle during which Islam — who was an is a pacifist and humanitarian — was wrongly deported from the US based on vague intelligence received from unnamed sources pinning him as a “terrorist sympathizer.”
All charges against Islam were later dropped and the case reversed. It was helped by the fact that on Mary’s suggestion, the Nobel laureates, after careful review of Islam’s accomplishments and the injustice of the deportation, decided to step forward and acknowledge Islam for his long history of humanitarian work and pacifism.
Within one hour of the award being presented, there were 1600 newspaper and magazine articles on the Man of Peace Award and the World Summit of Nobel Laureates. By evening the story was featured on major blogs around the world, on the network news programs across the US, and more. It was the first international press the Summit had received, and essentially put the Summit on the map.
In subsequent years, under Mary’s organization, the Man of Peace Award was presented to Bob Geldof, Peter Gabriel, George Clooney and Don Cheadle, growing each year in popularity and exposure. As the Man of Peace award grew, the exposure and international recognition of the World Summit of Nobel Laureates exploded. When George Clooney and Don Cheadle received the award, and held a subsequent press conference, within one hour there were more than 6000 articles on the award internationally, and talk on all major electronic entertainment media.
a small sampling of the press received for the award:
USA Today: Singer Cat Stevens gets peace prize in Rome
Associated Press: Group honors Gabriel as ‘Man of Peace’
USA Today: Peter Gabriel receives peace award
CBS News Photo Gallery: Man of Peace (Peter Gabriel)
BBC News: Bob Geldof receives peace award
USA Today: Peter Gabriel Receives Peace Award
People Magazine: Clooney and Cheadle Honored by Nobel Prize Winners
Access Hollywood: George Clooney and Don Cheadle Honored by Nobel Prize Recipients