Yoko Ono’s Speech
LennonOno Grant for Peace Ceremony
October 9, 2008
Hofdi House, Reykjavik, Iceland

Dear Friends

Here we are together at one of the most tumultuous periods not only in the history of Iceland, but in the recent history of the world. It is easy to think that everything we have been striving for is at best in a sudden state of flux. However, I strongly believe that this is a challenge the world has been given, and a challenge we will meet and can deal with. I believe that this challenge will open us to more possibilities and lead us to our survival and prosperity.

For me, it is amazing that I have been sent here to Iceland at the time when it is most necessary to light the Tower: IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, the tower of light. And to present the LennonOno Grant For Peace to worthy causes to encourage and celebrate the human efforts to protect our planet.

Two nights ago I looked out of my hotel window and saw the beautiful light of Imagine Peace Tower as the technicians tested the lighting in preparation for tonight. My vision was instantly transformed by the brilliant, pure spectacle of the beam of light, shining brightly in the darkness of night. It was not just a beam of light. To me, it was a symbol of our hopes, our dreams and the future we would bring in together with our great power which we have never previously known to exist in us.

Indeed, we are here today to celebrate the unveiling of the true human spirit which we have been hiding, it seems, for such a time in need. The power of all people coming together to rescue this planet knows no boundaries nor limitations.

The LennonOno Grant For Peace for this year has been given to two important forces: A country and an individual, both, for their wisdom and courage. It is a true celebration of how with the power and belief of each individual, so much can be done to make our world a better place.

First, the country of Iceland. It is the most appropriate country to be given this grant. With the success of using geothermal energy as the main energy of the land from as early as the 1930’s, Iceland exemplifies a country which has been solving problems in their own unique way and sticking to good decisions with determination and courage.

Geothermal energy is an incredible resource given to us by nature, and which has been woefully under-exploited. The world is slowly discovering its benefit, by seeing its successful usage in Iceland. As such, Iceland is definitely impacting our world now as a leading force in green energy.

For this pioneering use of geothermal energy, and it’s incredible effect on our current and future world, I am proud today to award the first LennonOno Grant for Peace of 2008 to the country of Iceland. To accept the award is the President of Iceland Olafur Grimsson.

It gives me great pleasure to award the second Lennon Ono Grant for Peace 2008 to Dr. Vandana Shiva, a visionary, physicist, ecologist and activist who has lead a quiet revolution of her own, which has touched many, many lives on our planet.

As the founder and director of Navdanya International, Dr. Shiva has been instrumental in securing the basic rights of people to have food and clean water, jobs and livelihoods.

Engaging in grass roots mobilization, science based research and strong policies, Dr. Shiva’s work in seed conservation and ecological farming has given future freedom from hunger and poverty to vast numbers of people, and, eventually, to the world.

Pioneering work challenging climate change and its effect on food systems is one of the many other ways in which Dr Shiva’s work is benefitting us all, thus affecting people in local communities, nationally and globally.

The world is truly enriched by the work that Dr Shiva is doing. As one of our most provocative and dynamic thinkers on the environment, women’s issues and international affairs, her combination of creative energy, dynamism and intellectual power truly is an example to us all.

Please welcome Dr. Vandana Shiva…

I would like you all to join me in spirit this evening 8:00 pm for the


Today, October 9th, Yoko Ono announced the recipients of the bi-annual LennonOno Grant For Peace 2008, which was created by her in 2002 to honour John’s dedication to peace and commitment to the preservation of human rights.

This year’s recipients are: THE COUNTRY OF ICELAND, for their commitment to clean energy and pioneering use of geothermal power since the 1930’s. They are now making an effort to share their vast expertise with other countries of the world to make it a cleaner world. The President of Iceland, Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, will be accepting the award on behalf of the country.

DR. VANDANA SHIVA, renowned scientist and one of the world’s biggest environmental heroes. Dr. Shiva has pioneered the organic movement in India and established the country’s biggest network of organic producers, which has had a vast effect on how the world thinks about food. She has written many books including ‘Soil Not Oil’ and serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the World Future Council.