Two men, a vision, and an olive tree

There are only a handful times when I felt like I did as my dear friend Ipek, daughter of late Ismail Cem asked me to design and produce this year’s Cem Papandreou Peace Award. I was literally over the clouds…

The seeds of this very noble effort was planted in 2001, on the island of Samos as ‘’two men planted an olive tree, wanting to give strong roots to their vision of peace. George Papandreou, at the time Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Ismail Cem, Foreign Minister of Turkey, dared to go against the tide, opening an era of new relations between Turkey and Greece.’’

Around the same years, I got involved in a similar peace-making effort that was initiated by my YPO friend, Bobby Sager,  and took the lead in setting up a Turkish-Greek peace forum which steered me to a precious acquaintance with the Cem family and then it beautifully came full circle few weeks ago…

In 2015, George Papandreou and Ipek Cem Taha, decided to implement the Cem-Papandreou Peace Award as ‘’an award to be given to individuals and groups that contributed in promoting peace in the broader region in an original and inspiring way. ‘’

I am deeply honoured to be part of this year's efforts in recognising Mr. Sarik Tara, Mr. Theodore Papalexopoulos and the Greek Turkish Forum as the receivers of this esteemed award.

Thank you my dear Ipek for giving me the opportunity of a life time... May he rest in PEACE ...