Award winners 2018

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

The three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been members of both the European Union and NATO since 1 May 2004. They are committed to developing and consolidating their democracies in Europe. This brings back memories of the so-called "Baltic Chain", with which millions of citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formed the longest human chain in history in 1989. They demonstrated in favour of independence, freedom and their path to democracy within the European Union.

Almost 30 years later, the Baltic states are generally regarded as model European countries. Within a very short space of time, the population has succeeded in establishing functioning democracies that are firmly committed to the principles of the rule of law, universal human rights and a free market economy. Due to this exemplary development path of the three countries after regaining their independence, it makes sense to honour and strengthen them for their special efforts towards integration in Europe. For this reason, the three Baltic states were honoured with the 2018 International Peace of Westphalia Award.

The issues of "peace" and "national security" have been of particular concern to the citizens of the three Baltic states since they regained their independence at the beginning of the 1990s. Due to their exposed location as northern "outposts" of the EU, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are not free from potential vulnerability today. Conflict scenarios once again appear to be within the realms of possibility. As the three countries, with a total population of "only" around six million people, would be militarily vulnerable in any case, permanent integration into the EU and NATO is at the centre of common foreign policy interests.

2018, the year of the Peace Prize award, marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Estonian and Latvian states and the restoration of the Lithuanian state. Today, the three Baltic states are firmly integrated into the Western system of values and alliances. With their capitals Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, they have become "visitor magnets" for many Europeans due to their cultural diversity and historical backgrounds. As members of the eurozone, the three countries have a high level of political and economic stability and have all demonstrated responsibility in successfully assuming the presidency of the EU Council since joining the European Union. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia already occupy leading positions in the development of the European economy. Their advanced digitalisation in business, administration and education is considered exemplary in Europe.

The heads of state of the three countries came to Münster to accept the Peace Prize: two female presidents and one male president. Kersti Kaljulaid has been President of Estonia since October 2016, Dalia Grybauskaite has been President of Lithuania since May 2009 and Raimonds Vejonis has been President of Latvia since July 2015.

Rings of German Scouts and Guides

As the world's largest youth movement, Scouting aims to contribute to the peace-oriented development of young people so that they can become involved in society as responsible citizens. The movement sees itself as international and independent of religion and politics. It is open to all. The most important principles are democracy, community and team spirit, living together as equals, tolerance towards others, respect for the environment and active commitment to the protection of nature. With these globally shared values, Scouting builds on the ideals of its founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, according to which all people - regardless of origin, skin colour, faith or property - can live together in peace. For this reason, the Scouts, represented by the Rings of German Scout Associations, are being honoured with the 2018 International Peace of Westphalia Award.

Since its foundation in 1907, scouting has developed into the largest youth movement in the world with around 50 million members. The first scout camp was organised by Baden-Powell, a British general, on Brownsea Island in England. Initially, the focus was clearly on outdoor adventures in nature, but over the years, values such as solidarity, tolerance and international understanding became increasingly important in the various age groups. Today, the Scouts make a lasting contribution to peace through practising democracy and international encounters.

Founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell once said: "A difficulty ceases to be a difficulty as soon as you smile about it and tackle it." The challenge for the Scouts to create peace in the world is therefore to work for it continuously and not to lose sight of the goal despite all obstacles. As an example of this, scouts have been distributing the Light of Peace from Bethlehem to "all people of good will" during Advent for over 20 years.

In Germany, the Ringe deutscher Pfadfinderinnen- und Pfadfinderverbände (Rings of German Scout Associations) bundle the common interests of their member organisations with around 220,000 members. The "female" ring includes the Pfadfinderinnenschaft St. Georg (PSG), the Verband Christlicher Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder (VCP) and the Bund der Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder (BdP). The "male" ring includes the Deutsche Pfadfinderschaft Sankt Georg (DPSG), the VCP and the BdP. The German rings are embedded in the structures of the two world organisations - the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.