The Peace Palace Library was delighted to hear that Salome Adamia, a young peace activist from Georgia, was inspired to create an international peace prize in honor of Bertha von Suttner, a 19th century historical figure who played a prominent role in the history of the Peace Palace.
Bertha von Suttner was a famous Austrian peace activist and bestselling author who was one of the initiators and supporters of the First Hague Peace Conference which took place in 1899. The outcome of the First Hague Peace conference was the establishment of the Peace Palace which officially opened its doors in 1913. In 1905, Bertha von Suttner was the first female recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Bertha von Suttner International Peace Prize is the first award in the field of peace in the nation of Georgia. Salome Adamia, a 30 year old peace activist and founder of the Bertha von Suttner International Peace Prize has long been involved in peacebuilding activities and youth policy in national as well as international organizations in Georgia.
‘For several years, I had the idea of founding a peace prize as it’s important to have heroes of peace and to follow their example, particularly in the difficult region of the Caucasus’, explains Ms. Adamia’.
In 2019, she was finally able to establish an international peace prize in the city of Zugdidi where she herself is based and named it after 19th century Austrian peace activist Bertha von Suttner.
One of the goals of this international peace award is to bring attention to the contributions of activists participating in peacebuilding activities, promoting peaceful attitudes in society and encouraging young people in the process of building trust.
Ms. Adamia hopes that this award will make women more involved as well as more visible in the peacebuilding process.
The choice of Zugdidi, as a location for this international award, is important for two reasons.
Bertha von Suttner and her husband Arthur lived in Georgia for nine years (1876-1885), out of which five years were spent in Samgrelo, Zugdidi. Bertha, already an author by this time, published her writings mostly in Western European media, informing a European audience of the Russian-Turkish wars and many other events in the Caucasus region. It was here, that Bertha von Suttner was first inspired to write her most famous novel ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ (1889), which became an international bestseller and catapulted her to international fame.
Since the city of Zugdidi is the place where Bertha’s life and career as a peace activist took off, it holds a special connection to this newly established peace prize named in her honor.
Another more symbolic meaning is that Zugdidi is the nearest city to the border of Abkhazia and is of special importance in the Georgian peace process. During the award ceremony, the city of Zugdidi was dubbed the ‘city of peace’.
The first Bertha von Suttner International Peace Prize Award Ceremony took place on May 8, 2019 and was awarded to Ms. Nino Kalandarishvili, chair of the Institute for the Study of Nationalism and Conflicts, for her long lasting efforts in conflict resolution issues in Abkhazia, South-Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Despite the global pandemic, Salome Adamia succeeded in organizing the second award ceremony in August of this year. For the second time, the peace prize was awarded to a woman, namely Dr. Yulia Kharashvili, a molecular biologist and chair-person of IDP Women Association, who is also actively involved in Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian humanitarian affairs & dialogue.
The award ceremonies were supported by several organizations, including the Bertha von Suttner Peace Institute based in The Hague.
‘I have high hopes that in the future, we will have candidates from other countries, but due to the current situation in the Caucasus, we must promote peace initiatives in the region’, says Ms. Adamia.
Fortunately, the Bertha von Suttner Peace Project in Georgia did not end here. In addition to creating this new peace prize, Ms. Adamia worked towards publishing a new edition of Bertha’s von Suttner’s bestselling novel Lay Down Your Arms.
We will bring you more news on this project in our next library newsletter!!
Even though Ms. Adamia’s future plans are temporarily put on hold due to the global pandemic, she has stated in the Georgian media that she will never stop developing her ideas.
The Peace Palace Library was delighted to learn that Bertha von Suttner inspired Salome Adamia’s work for peace and we wish her the best of luck in her all her future endeavors.