Dear Gunnar (Stålsett)
I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on the award of the Niwano Peace Prize 2013. This is a well-deserved recognition of your work and a welcome opportunity to highlight the important causes that you work for.
As a man of the church, you represent a set of values. And you have chosen to work for these values at home in Norway and abroad. With your background from the Norwegian Church and from international organisations such as the World Council of Churches and Religions for Peace, you have helped others find what unites them, rather than what separates them. You have helped to build bridges that prevent conflict and promote peace.
But more than anything, you are a man of action. From South Africa to Guatemala, from Kyrgyzstan to Timor Leste, your work has been characterised by your conviction that change is possible. In your support for the international campaign to ban cluster munitions and your efforts to raise awareness about HIV/Aids, you have challenged people to use their influence to achieve concrete results.
Your will to act is fuelled by a strong commitment and a belief in what each of us can achieve. Your efforts are a great inspiration to many of us – myself included. A prize is a reward for achievements, but also an encouragement and an invitation to continue the good work. I personally look forward to following your work in the years to come. I am also convinced that the Norwegian Government will continue to benefit from your vast knowledge and important networks in our efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.
[By Tokyo-ambassador Arne Walther on behalf of Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide]