The last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev is dead. However, did you know the late Wangari Maathai once met the man who ended the cold war?
The day Wangari Maathai met Gorbachev, Soviet Union's last leader
The two were both Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
The two now deceased were both recipients of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai in 2004 became the first African woman to receive the award. She was credited for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Gorbachev on the other hand was a recipient of the award in 1990. He was credited for the leading role he played in the radical changes in East-West relations through ending the Cold War.
The two met during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Gwangju, South Korea from June 15-17, 2006. The summit which hosted previous Nobel Laureates as well as other influential leaders focused on the state of peace and democracy in the world.
During the summit, the group of seven Laureates visited the national cemetery honoring hundreds of students and activists killed during The Gwangju Uprising.
The movement is commonly referred to as 5·18 due to the date it took place, May 18 to May 27, 1980. The uprising saw local, armed citizens go against soldiers and police of the South Korean government.
The uprising began after local Chonnam University students who were demonstrating against the martial law government were fired upon, killed, raped and beaten by government troops. It was estimated between 600 to 2,300 people were murdered.
Aside from visiting the graves, the Laureates called on the United States to lift financial restrictions on North Korea to help end the impasse over the communist nation's nuclear weapons program.
Aside from Maathai and Gorbachev, other Laureates included former Korean president Kim Dae-jung, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, and Mairead Corrigan-Maguire of the United Kingdom.
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