Nicholas Hagger, Gusi Peace Prize 2016 for Literature – Acceptance Speech, 23 November 2016

 

 

b-gusi-peace-prize-for-literature-2016

 

Ambassador and Dr. Gusi, fellow Laureates, ladies and gentlemen, I’m honoured to have been awarded the Gusi Peace Prize for Literature and I’m grateful to the Gusi Foundation for this recognition. I understand that I’m only the third UK citizen to receive a Gusi award since 2002, and I’m humbled.

 

In a long literary career of nearly 60 years I’ve written more than 40 books. My literary works include many poems and short stories, and poetic epics and verse plays, diaries and autobiographies, travelogues and a study of the fundamental theme of world literature, and I’ve written works of history, philosophy, and international politics.

 

In my lifetime I’ve seen the world go through a miserable period and we could be heading for a Third World War. Since 1945 the UN has failed to prevent 162 wars – 162 wars – and the world has accumulated 15,375 nuclear weapons: 15,375 nuclear weapons. There were none when I was born. In my books I’ve tried to analyse what’s gone wrong, and find solutions. I’ve concluded that ideally we need a democratic World State with the nation-states staying as they are and a partly-federal government that’s strong enough to prevent wars and control nuclear weapons. The present United Nations lacks overall authority, and nation-states go to war too readily.

 

The first two atomic bombs left many international figures in shock and calling for such a democratic peace-bringing World State. These included Churchill, Truman, Einstein and Eisenhower. I have the same vision, and so I’m carrying on this call in my works.

 

As I see it, the UN General Assembly could eventually be turned into a lower house of democratically-elected Representatives in a partly-federal government that includes a World Senate, as set out in my work The World Government. I see the UN eventually becoming a UF, a United Federation. A UF.

 

Such new thinking could create a world government with enough authority to abolish war, enforce disarmament and alleviate famine, disease and poverty. This vision of universal peace underlies my two poetic epics on war. Virgil in The Aeneid [book 1] foresaw a Roman ‘Empire without limit’ which didn’t happen until after his lifetime, and I’ve foreseen a World State that won’t happen until after my lifetime. But an Age of universal peace and prosperity is a goal worth striving for, a dream worth dreaming.

 

In my literary works I’ve held up universal peace within a new world structure as a vision of hope that can inspire the younger generation to bring in a better world for our grandchildren. I’m grateful to the Gusi Foundation for recognising my body of work, and hope that my philanthropic vision will one day improve the lives of all humankind. Thank you.

 

c-gusi-peace-prize-for-literature-2016

Nicholas Hagger