"[I]n the early '80s . . . there was this rather ridiculous idea . . . that if it was big, it was bad. Which of course rules out Elvis."
Nobel laureates crown U2's Bono 'man of peace'
December 12, 2008
Nobel peace laureates gathered in Paris on Friday awarded the Irish rocker-turned-activist Bono an annual "Man of Peace" prize for his crusade to tackle African debt, poverty and disease.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who hosted the event, handed the U2 frontman the Peace Summit Award in presence of five Nobel winners, in recognition of two decades of global anti-poverty activitism.
"This is a very big award for me, because let's be honest this is as close as I am going to get -- as close as a rock star is ever going to get to the Nobel Peace Prize," the 48-year-old Bono quipped to the audience.
"I am an over-awarded, over-rewarded rock star. You are the people who do the real work," he told the Nobel winners present, who included F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, Lech Walesa of Poland and Northern Ireland's John Hume.
"So I am very, very pleased to be in such esteemed company."
Organisers said Bono was chosen for his global campaigning to persuade rich nations to lighten Africa's debt burden, combat poverty, promote fair trade and raise funds for the treatment of HIV-AIDS and malaria.
"We decided to nominate a man who has given a lot and will continue to give a great deal to the struggle for human rights, to the fight against poverty, with his music and with his words," said Italian left-wing leader Walter Veltroni, co-host of the event.
"He has put pressure on the world's governments to reach the U.N.'s Millenium Goals. To give him the prize, is to say that fight will carry on."
Last year's recipients of the peace award were US actors George Clooney and Don Cheadle, who have spoken out against the violence in Sudan's war-torn Darfur.
Nobel winners were meeting in Paris for a three-day summit, coinciding with celebrations marking 60 years since the U.N. declaration of human rights was adopted in Paris.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev -- whose foundation co-organises the annual event -- was unable to attend for medical reasons.
His spokesman said he was undergoing eye treatment.
© AFP, 2008.