Message from Nobel Peace Price winner Mr. Martti Ahtisaari to all participants at YMCA Europe Festival 2013

Date: 17 July 2013

It gives me great pleasure to greet all of you, thousands of young Europeans, gathered in Prague for the YMCA Love 2 Live festival. You are looking ahead a week filled by activity and meetings with your friends across the continent. It is my hope and belief that these meetings and new friendships will enrich your lives, even beyond this week. I hope this week will strengthen you with an understanding of how we all, no matter where we come from, can live peacefully side by side, with compassion and empathy for others.

Martti AhtisaariYMCA has played a great role in shaping my life. It started with basketball practices in my hometown Oulu. My YMCA friends also directed me to my first posting abroad. From there, I have travelled onwards in my life and career of international development and peace-making, comfortable in the knowledge that friends once made are friends for a lifetime. Peace making is team work, where the goal is to ensure that everyone in the world is able to live in dignity. The important mission of YMCA supports this same goal. We all have a responsibility to support those in need.

When I today congratulate the YMCA Europe on its 40th anniversary and wish you a successful time together, I do it with a wish that this important work will be sustained for the benefit of future generations, and with a hope that all of you individually will continue to be active and carry on the message of this festival.

Martti Ahtisaari