Mennonite peacebuilding expert receives international award

By staff writers
September 19, 2006

Mennonite peacebuilding expert receives international award

-19/09/06

A leading Mennonite expert on conflict transformation and peacemaking has been honoured for his work challenging the roots of war and violence, including religious conflict, and for generating practical alternatives to the logic of violence.

John Paul Lederach, distinguished scholar at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and professor of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the Order of the Culture of Peace for his work in Nicaragua and around the world.

Dr Lederach is the founding director of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and its associated Practice Institute. He continues to teach part time in the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) held each year at Eastern Mennonite University.

The annual award was presented earlier this month (September 2006) at the Polytechnical University of Nicaragua (UPOLI). It is sponsored by the university's Martin Luther King Institute in collaboration with the World Council of Churchesí peace programme.

Emerson Perez Sandoval, UPOLI president, praised Dr Lederach's efforts to build a culture of peace around the world through peace education and the transformation of conflicts.

"With deep gratitude we recognize that your contributions have included our own country, at a time when our society struggled with a cruel civil war supported by outside powers," Sandoval told Lederach when announcing the honour.

UPOLI is the second largest university in Nicaragua, founded by Protestant leaders, though widely ecumenical. The official act bestowing Lederach's award acknowledged his Mennonite faith and noted that his contributions "distinguish him as an ethical model, a person who coherently has integrated belief and action; theory and practice; word and life testimony."

Lederach is internationally recognized for his experience in the field of conciliation and mediation. In addition to his ongoing relationship with Eastern Mennonite University, he has been a faculty member since 2001 at Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Lederach's connections with Nicaragua began in the mid-1980s, when he and his family lived in Central America. He was working for the Mennonite Central Committee's "Peace Portfolio" programme as a resource person in the region.

From 1986-1989, he worked almost exclusively as a member of the Conciliation Commission, which mediated between the Sandinista government and the political and armed East Coast movement known as Yatama who represented the indigenous peoples.

"After years of working diligently and at times with great disappointment and frustration, direct negotiations were achieved that eventually ended the armed conflict in the East Coast," Lederach recalled.

He continued: "Our conciliation team was made up of religious leaders from Moravian and Protestant Churches in Nicaragua. The Moravians represent the majority church among the East Coast peoples."

Lederach's peacebuilding efforts have since taken him to some of the world's hottest conflict zones. In the 1990s, he consulted in Somalia, Northern Ireland, Colombia, the Basque Country of Spain, and the Philippines. Since 2000, he has worked to bring peace to Tajikistan and Nepal. A frequent author, his latest book is The Moral Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2006).

The Martin Luther King Order of Peace was established in 2003 and is conferred with a medal featuring the face of the famed American civil rights leader. Past recipients have included Nicaraguans Juan Bautista Arrien, secretary of the Permanent Commission of UNESCO; Vilma Nunez de Escorcia, director of Human Rights Commission; Domingo S·nchez Salgado, founder of the National Workers Movement in Nicaragua; and Carlos Taurizon, nationally recognized artist in Nicaragua. The other international honoree was Johan Galtung of Norway, a pioneer in the field of peace studies.

Mennonites, along with the Quakers and the Church of the Brethren, are one of the 'hsitoric peace churches', which see the rejection of violence as a central feature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not an 'ethical add-on'.

With acknowledgements to Mennonite World Conference and to Jim Bishop, Public Information Officer, Eastern Mennonite University.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites highlight three new anti-HIV strategies 23/08/06; Mennonites join effort to rebuild in Lebanon 17/08/06; Mennonite-backed film helps lift silence on depression 15/08/06; Mennonites see hope amid Congo struggle for democracy 10/08/06; Mennonites respond to massive Lebanese humanitarian needs 09/08/06; Mennonites call on USA and Canada to pursue non-violent alternatives 27/07/06; Mennonites issue action alert on Middle East crisis 24/07/06; Mennonites back trauma counselling in Gaza 20/07/06; Mennonites diversify peace and justice work in Washington DC; Who Are the Anabaptists: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites by Donald B Kraybill Peace church seeks positive alternatives to military recruitment; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt; Vietnamese Mennonite church faces violent security raid; Ethiopian Mennonite leader delves into politics; European Mennonite theologians tackle violence and God]

Mennonite peacebuilding expert receives international award

-19/09/06

A leading Mennonite expert on conflict transformation and peacemaking has been honoured for his work challenging the roots of war and violence, including religious conflict, and for generating practical alternatives to the logic of violence.

John Paul Lederach, distinguished scholar at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and professor of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the Order of the Culture of Peace for his work in Nicaragua and around the world.

Dr Lederach is the founding director of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and its associated Practice Institute. He continues to teach part time in the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) held each year at Eastern Mennonite University.

The annual award was presented earlier this month (September 2006) at the Polytechnical University of Nicaragua (UPOLI). It is sponsored by the university's Martin Luther King Institute in collaboration with the World Council of Churchesí peace programme.

Emerson Perez Sandoval, UPOLI president, praised Dr Lederach's efforts to build a culture of peace around the world through peace education and the transformation of conflicts.

"With deep gratitude we recognize that your contributions have included our own country, at a time when our society struggled with a cruel civil war supported by outside powers," Sandoval told Lederach when announcing the honour.

UPOLI is the second largest university in Nicaragua, founded by Protestant leaders, though widely ecumenical. The official act bestowing Lederach's award acknowledged his Mennonite faith and noted that his contributions "distinguish him as an ethical model, a person who coherently has integrated belief and action; theory and practice; word and life testimony."

Lederach is internationally recognized for his experience in the field of conciliation and mediation. In addition to his ongoing relationship with Eastern Mennonite University, he has been a faculty member since 2001 at Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Lederach's connections with Nicaragua began in the mid-1980s, when he and his family lived in Central America. He was working for the Mennonite Central Committee's "Peace Portfolio" programme as a resource person in the region.

From 1986-1989, he worked almost exclusively as a member of the Conciliation Commission, which mediated between the Sandinista government and the political and armed East Coast movement known as Yatama who represented the indigenous peoples.

"After years of working diligently and at times with great disappointment and frustration, direct negotiations were achieved that eventually ended the armed conflict in the East Coast," Lederach recalled.

He continued: "Our conciliation team was made up of religious leaders from Moravian and Protestant Churches in Nicaragua. The Moravians represent the majority church among the East Coast peoples."

Lederach's peacebuilding efforts have since taken him to some of the world's hottest conflict zones. In the 1990s, he consulted in Somalia, Northern Ireland, Colombia, the Basque Country of Spain, and the Philippines. Since 2000, he has worked to bring peace to Tajikistan and Nepal. A frequent author, his latest book is The Moral Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2006).

The Martin Luther King Order of Peace was established in 2003 and is conferred with a medal featuring the face of the famed American civil rights leader. Past recipients have included Nicaraguans Juan Bautista Arrien, secretary of the Permanent Commission of UNESCO; Vilma Nunez de Escorcia, director of Human Rights Commission; Domingo S·nchez Salgado, founder of the National Workers Movement in Nicaragua; and Carlos Taurizon, nationally recognized artist in Nicaragua. The other international honoree was Johan Galtung of Norway, a pioneer in the field of peace studies.

Mennonites, along with the Quakers and the Church of the Brethren, are one of the 'hsitoric peace churches', which see the rejection of violence as a central feature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not an 'ethical add-on'.

With acknowledgements to Mennonite World Conference and to Jim Bishop, Public Information Officer, Eastern Mennonite University.

[Also on Ekklesia: Mennonites highlight three new anti-HIV strategies 23/08/06; Mennonites join effort to rebuild in Lebanon 17/08/06; Mennonite-backed film helps lift silence on depression 15/08/06; Mennonites see hope amid Congo struggle for democracy 10/08/06; Mennonites respond to massive Lebanese humanitarian needs 09/08/06; Mennonites call on USA and Canada to pursue non-violent alternatives 27/07/06; Mennonites issue action alert on Middle East crisis 24/07/06; Mennonites back trauma counselling in Gaza 20/07/06; Mennonites diversify peace and justice work in Washington DC; Who Are the Anabaptists: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites by Donald B Kraybill Peace church seeks positive alternatives to military recruitment; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt; Vietnamese Mennonite church faces violent security raid; Ethiopian Mennonite leader delves into politics; European Mennonite theologians tackle violence and God]

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