Working for Peace on Earth and Peace with Earth since 1952
The Gandhi Peace Award is regarded as one of the most prestigious American peace prizes. Recipients are distinguished by having made, over a period of years, a significant contribution to the promotion of an enduring international peace founded on justice, self-determination, diversity, compassion, and harmony, achieved through cooperative and non-violent means—in the spirit of Gandhi. The prize has been awarded since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace.
We've made a change. Since we're having the award as a zoom event we realized we could get more of an international audience if we held the event early in the afternoon on a weekend. So we'll hold the Gandhi Peace Award presentation at 1 p.m. on Sat. Nov. 21, 2020. That's a Saturday.
The Gandhi Peace Award has been given out since 1960 by our organization. It comes with a medal made of peace bronze forged from the metal of retired nuclear weapons and with a $5,000 cash prize that will be shared by the two honorees.
The Gandhi Peace Award has been awarded to peace heroes such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti, Ralph Nader and Jackson Browne. (full list of laureates at https://pepeace.org/award-laureates )
“The Board of PEP decided that our best contribution this year would be to give the prize in hopes it would help reorient the peace movement and the Left on an issue where many progressives have gone astray. It’s said that most generals prepare for their last war. Most of the of the peace movement has done the same with Syria, making simple-minded comparisons with the U.S. war against Iraq. Most have ignored the agency of Syrians and their efforts for a democratic uprising, one that has been met by incredible violence and influenced badly by foreign powers, but which still remains active whether hidden in Deraa and Idlib or alive among refugees around the world. Our award this year is to the medical workers and rescuers of Syria.
PEP decided to give the award to two Syrians active in these organizations doing humanitarian work. The first is to Dr. Zaher Sahloul. He’s past president of the Syrian-American Medical Society which has built and rebuilt hospitals in Syria, in recent years underground or in caves. He’s now president of Medglobal which helps not just in Syria, but in 14 countries. He’s a pulmonary specialist in Chicago where he’s currently helping treat patients with the Covid-19 virus.
The second honoree will be Mayson Almisri. She is from Deraa where the mass demonstrations began in Syria in 2011. She is a leader in the Syrian Civil Defense, known in the West as the White Helmets. They are the heroes who dig out survivors and bodies from under the rubble of Assad or Russian bombs. They have enraged the Assad regime by making videos of the devastation caused by the barrel bombs and the chemicals. Now during the recent ceasefire, they work at disinfecting, hoping to ward off the virus inside the remnant of Idlib province.
Watch this space for more details in the weeks ahead
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Jackson Browne for his extraordinary contributions of time and talent to the inseparable causes of peace, environmental harmony, and social justice .
Ralph Nader for decades of work on behalf of consumers, his oppostion to nuclear power and his efforts for peace. Omar Barghouti for his leadership in the Boycott
Kathy Kelly for decades of non-violent protest from Gaza to U.S. drone bases and for her work with women in Afghanistan . Tom Goldtooth for his leadership with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Medea Benjamin Peace Activist, Co-Founder, Code Pink: Women for Peace
Co-Founder, Global Exchange
Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org • Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College, Environmental Activist & Author. Member of the American Acad. of Arts & Science
Amy Goodman Progressive Journalist • Co-Founder and Anchor, Democracy Now!
Like all of the perennial activities of Promoting Enduring Peace, the Gandhi Peace Award was conceived by the organization’s founder, Jerome Davis, possibly as early as the late nineteen forties. At the Board of Directors meeting on March 13, 1959, he formally proposed that a yearly award be given to persons outstanding in their work for world peace. In his view, the recipient need not be a pacifist. Each recipient’s name would be inscribed on a permanent trophy and each would receive a citation. The Board approved the idea.
The Gandhi Peace Award: it is a certificate, calligraphed with an inscription summing up the work for peace of a distinguished citizen of the world. It is a medallion featuring the profile of Mohandas Kaharamchand Gandhi, with his words “Love Ever Suffers / Never Revenges Itself” cast in bronze. It is a name plate on a weighty carved statue of the Mahatma. It is a ceremony held approximately once a year, at which a distinguished peacemaker is recognized and given the opportunity to present a message of challenge and hope. It is to be awarded annually “for contributions made in the promoting of international peace and good will.”
It has been received by Eleanor Roosevelt, Benjamin Spock, and César Chávez and many others. Martin Luther King, Jr., was chosen but had to pass when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace a few months later. Three other times the Nobel Committee seemed to follow P.E.P.’s lead, choosing to bestow the Peace Prize on someone who just a few months before had won the Gandhi Peace Award: Linus Pauling, Peter Benenson, and Bernard Lown.
The New York sculptor, Don Benaron/Katz, was commissioned to create a work of art to serve as the symbol of the Award. He researched Gandhi at the library of the India House in New York City and by 1960 had carved a striking portrait of the founder of the century’s international movement for nonviolent change. He wrote, “I carved the Gujarati word for peace on one side, and on the other a symbolic plowshare and pruning hook inspired by Isaiah 2:4″
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
Beginning in 2012 the Gandhi Peace Award medallion was created by “From War to Peace“, a California company that uses recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems to create Peace Bronze, the most precious metal in our world. American materials that once sent launch signals to the most violent weapons ever created have been transformed to help launch peace in the 21st century. They believe that war is failure, and that peace is triumph. At From War to Peace, starting with one weapon at a time, they hope to see a demilitarized world in our lifetime. From War to Peace donates 20% of all profits to peace and social justice organizations committed to transforming our world, among them: Veterans for Peace, the National Peace Corps Association, and the International Peace Bureau.
Mohandas Gandhi is considered the father of the Indian independence movement. Gandhi spent 20 years in South Africa working to fight discrimination. It was there that he created his concept of satyagraha, a non-violent way of protesting against injustices.
While in India, Gandhi's obvious virtue, simplistic lifestyle, and minimal dress endeared him to the people. He spent his remaining years working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest classes. Many civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., used Gandhi's concept of non-violent protest as a model for their own struggles.