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Student’s role in Colombian landmine campaign

A University of St Andrews student has been invited by Save the Children Norway to act as official interpreter for a 16 year old Colombian peace maker at the Symposium on Children, Peace and Security in Oslo next month.

Gert Danielsen, a Norwegian final year student of MA Joint Honours Spanish/International Relations, will accompany international peace award winner Gerson Andrés Flórez Pérez, who has fought against landmines in Colombia since he was 10 years old, to the Symposium organised by Redd Barna and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

When Gerson was just 10, he presented a peace proposal to the President of Colombia, one of the most conflict-ridden countries in the world. Now 16, Gerson, who officially represents the Children’s Movement for Peace in Colombia, wants to give young mine victims a better future in a country suffering from violence.

As the Nobel Peace Prize celebrates its 100th anniversary, Gert and Gerson will attend the Ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December, with related activities on 11 December.

Gert, the Director of World Voices Norway, an international youth organisation which promotes the voices of young people determined to shape their own future, has worked with Gerson in the UK, Colombia and Norway since 1999. He will assist with Gerson’s presentations and meetings with Gerson’s collaborators in Norway including the Norwegian Football Federation, the Red Cross, World Voices Norway, Norwegian People’s Aid, the Norwegian Church Aid, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN’s Special Commissioner to the peace Process in Colombia, Mr Jan Egeland, as well as schools, youth organisations and others who have been giving Gerson support in his work against anti-personnel landmines.

Participants at the Symposium will include Mr Olara Otunnu, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict; Ms Rigoberta Menchú Túm, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Mr Jan Egeland, UN’s Special Commissioner to the Peace Process in Colombia; Gro Braekken, Secretary General of Save the Children Norway, and a delegate from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).

Gert said, “This will not only be an excellent opportunity for me to continue supporting Gerson’s work, but also to expand on my abilities as an interpreter between Spanish-English in a context and setting highly relevant to my future career goals within the UN, international organisations and social development in Latin America.”

This summer, Gert worked as an intern at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nordic Office in Copenhagen and is determined to continue this path into working with the UN on development issues worldwide and, particularly, in Latin America.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – For more information, please call Gert Danielson direct on 01334 473021

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: gert/standrews/chg/12nov2001

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