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Commemoration of Sir William Randal Cremer, Nobel Peace Prize winner

To mark the International Day of Democracy 2012 the BGIPU held a number of events in Parliament as part of BGIPU week, to promote the work and ideals of the IPU and to engage Parliamentarians with this year’s theme of “Dialogue and inclusiveness – central to democracy”.

In the first of the series of events, Mr Speaker and the Lord Speaker, along with Members of the Executive Committee of the BGIPU met to commemorate the work of the co-founder of the IPU, and first British citizen to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Sir William Randal Cremer.

A bust of Cremer which was commissioned by the House of Commons to mark his achievements and unveiled by the then Speaker, Speaker Lowther, in 1911 now sits in the Member’s Entrance to the House of Commons. Mr Speaker and the Lord Speaker joined Members of the Group and staff to highlight once again the work of Mr Cremer, whose tireless dedication to international issues is still relevant today, and to draw attention to his achievements as Members walk past his bust each day.

In his own words, delivered in Oslo in January 1905 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize: “The darkness is ending, a new day is dawning, and the future is ours”.

The Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee, Stewart Jackson MP welcomed the Speaker on behalf of the Executive Committee noting his hopes that; “Sir Randal would approve of the work that the BGIPU continues to do today in representing the UK in the organisation he created over 120 years ago “
Mr Jackson thanked both Mr Speaker and the Lord Speaker for being present to recall the proud legacy of one of our nation’s greatest statesmen, Sir William Randal Cremer.

Cremer’s efforts to champion a world where disputes between nations would be resolved by arbitration and friendly mediation, not by acts of aggression or war were given international recognition in 1903 when he was named first British recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as ‘first father’ of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In recalling his legacy, BGIPU hope that his vision will serve as inspiration to future generations of parliamentarians in their pursuit of peace and global harmony.

The Speakers both spoke in praise of Mr Cremer’s work in the field of international arbitration and his role in the establishment of the Inter-parliamentary Union, and his other endeavours in the field on international arbitration. They noted that since the first conference initiated by Randal Cremer and a French counterpart, Frederic Passy at which 8 nations were represented, that the IPU has grown in size and stature and with a membership of 162 countries.

The IPU plays a vital role in helping to develop democratic principles of governance and international standards for free and fair elections, including assisting in the establishment of new parliamentary systems in more than 50 countries. It has developed guidelines for good practices in parliaments, and methods for assessing parliamentary performance. More broadly, the Organization Sir Randal founded works every day to assist the more than 40,000 parliamentarians worldwide to better represent their constituents freely and safely to serve his vision of a world where disputes, be they internal or international, are able to be resolved by friendly mediation and dialogue, not by acts of violence, aggression or war.

On 11 September, the BGIPU also maintained an information stand in the Atrium of Portcullis House to allow us to promote the work of the Group to Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Staff and others passing through the area.  We had significant interest, circulating a new information guide to the BGIPU, key IPU publications (including the Global Parliamentary Report) and promoting other BGIPU events.  The stand was visited by the BGIPU Chair, Mr Robert Walter MP, other members of the Executive Committee, a range of BGIPU members and new members interested in joining the Group.  The stand included alternating showings of a film about the IPU and a presentation on the BGIPU and its work.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Sir William Randal Cremer or the work of the IPU, please contact the Secretariat.