Stepping Fully into the New Year - Messages from Our Nobels

Picture this. The clock hits midnight and suddenly you’re surrounded by energetic jumping, hugging, and of course - shouts of “Happy New Year!” Maybe you’re celebrating with friends and strangers alike. Or maybe like me, you were sitting on your couch with a few friends bringing in the New Year with some hugs and games. Whether or not you marked the transition, you’re undoubtedly in the same boat as us all. We are officially in the year 2023. 


Does writing down dates with 2023 feel as weird to you as it is to me? The last few years have certainly been almost surreal for many around the world - especially for many in our community working on the frontlines of different humanitarian crises. At the same time, we’ve seen and shared incredible stories of cooperation, innovation, and simple everyday acts of compassion. 


The Earth is constantly changing and transforming itself year round. Yet it is on days like January 1st that we recognize a distinct change - or a moving forward of time. We paint over last year’s Vision Boards, create lists of resolutions, rework our calendars, and literally “restart” the year. 


Truly, there is much symbolism and power in the marking of different “New Years” celebrations around the world. It feels almost like a brief pause, a moment in which you can redefine and reconnect with your agency in this vast world. Where we all can reflect on where we are as individuals and collectives, and recommit ourselves to the world that is waiting around the corner. This year, the PeaceJam & Billion Acts word of the year is “collaboration”. Our team is preparing to dive further into our constantly evolving community and to knit more strings into our global web. If you have a similar vision or word of the year, we would love to hear about it on social media! Make sure to tag us on instagram, Facebook or Twitter @ billionacts!


As we continue to “turn the wheel” into a New Year, we have also been tuning into the wisdom of our guiding Nobel Peace Laureates. We’ve collected a series of New Years reflections and community messages for you all below. May they offer you some inspiration, reflection, or simple joy as you step more fully into the New Year.


Madam Leymah Gbowee:

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2022 came and went too fast! The year had its fair share of heartaches, pains, and frustration. However, it also had its fair share of light love and laughter. I celebrated my 50th birthday with my loved ones. Many traveled from far and near to celebrate with me. My foundation celebrated a decade of existence and graduated more students in 2022 than in any other year since its founding.

We rang in 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria, at the Christ Embassy Church, at their Future Africa Leaders Award ceremony. It was an absolute honor to be introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In my remarks, I spoke briefly about the Possibility and the Promise—2023 holds many possibilities and Promises. Sometimes it is hard to dream of a future when your current situation is terrible, but a lousy position in most instances should be the drive to push harder to succeed.

The Promise of a better life/ future is sure, and there is the possibility of achieving it. Our charge is to forge ahead with determination trusting God throughout our journey.

Happy New Year!!!


Kailash Satyarthi:

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“Let’s begin this year by lighting the candle of compassion within us to illuminate the world.”

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

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“Friends, I wish you a year 2023 in which together we weave a path as diverse and full of alliance as the threads of the guipil.”  


Óscar Arias Sánchez

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“I want to urge you to be messengers of peace and bearers of joy. Let us bring peace to our families and happiness wherever we go. If there is violence around us, let us be the ones who end it; if there is indifference, let us be those who give attention and love to those who need us.”


The Dalai Lama

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“We must continually consider the oneness of humanity, remembering that we all want to be happy. And indeed, everyone has a right to a happy life. Along the way we may be faced with problems, but we must not lose hope. We must keep up our determination without being impatient to achieve quick results.”


Tawakkol Karman:

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“May you and your loved ones be fine, happy and peaceful every year.”


José Ramos-Horta:

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“In the New Year 2023

For our Beloved Fathers and Mothers

For the Beloved Children and Grandchildren

For the Beloved Poor of our Society

We are going to consolidate democracy,

Human Fraternity,

Sow the seeds of Peace and Love

In our homes and in the whole country.”


Here’s to another year of transformation and community-action! 

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