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 the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Benjamin Spock, and César Chávez. 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.
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