We proudly present our first Peace Patron: Tom Johnson from Pittsburgh.
Thomas (Tom) R. Johnson is a practicing lawyer with the international law firm K&L Gates LLP specializing in dispute prevention and resolution. Tom grew up in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States, but for the past 50 years, since graduating from law school, he has lived in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I was aware of the Peace Palace since I was in elementary school due to press reports about the activities of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. When I was appointed Honorary Consul of The Kingdom of the Netherlands for western Pennsylvania in early 2018, I undertook to learn more about it and explored how it could become part of my work as Honorary Consul and also as a lawyer. I was fortunate to attend the 2019 Carnegie Corporation of New York ceremonies surrounding the award of the Medal of Philanthropy.”
Tom Johnson visited the Peace Palace twice: “Once in connection with the 2018 Honorary Consuls meetings at The Hague and then again in the Fall of 2019 when I had a great tour and met with Erik de Baedts, director of the Peace Palace. I also hosted Erik when he visited the US and came to Pittsburgh.”
He was very impressed with the mission of and successes of the work done at the Peace Palace. In April 2022, Tom will be bringing 33 of his Princeton classmates to the Peace Palace. Several of them are also lawyers and he hopes “they will come to share my enthusiasm and passion for the Peace Palace. I feel a special kinship with the Peace Palace, also because Andrew Carnegie, the principal benefactor and initial supporter of the Peace Palace, immigrated from Scotland to Pittsburgh and made his fortune in my city. Our law firm represents some of the companies Carnegie founded. Even though it may not be accurate, there is a Pittsburgh legend that the idea of the Peace Palace was conceived in the bar of The Duquesne Club, of which I am a member.”
Tom believes strongly in the Rule of Law and that disputes should be resolved by negotiation, mediation and arbitration rather than armed conflict: “Education enables people to think more clearly about risks, rewards and optimal outcomes and the Carnegie Foundation’s educational programs are very important to facilitate civil discourse and discussion rather than fighting. When nations have major disputes, too often wars result with huge loss of life and costs to civilians. I am motivated to support the Carnegie Foundation – Peace Palace because I am aware that the Peace Palace needs substantial funding to carry out its mission, upgrade facilities and expand its outreach. I am helping with fundraising and want to set an example for other like-minded persons and institutions.”
To Tom Johnson, peace is the absence of war, hostility and violence where the rule of law, friendship and harmony among people, institutions and nations prevail at all times. “Peace will enable elimination of prejudices and inequalities and promote health, security and happiness for all people.”
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