The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award was created as part of the Gratitude Project of the Life Experience School for children and young adults with disabilities. All awards are bestowed with the love of the students, without whom the Award would not exist.
MISSION STATEMENT: It is out of a desire to promote the causes of peace, justice, nonviolence, and love that The Peace Abbey bestows the Courage of Conscience Award on its recipients.
Throughout history, peace awards have served to bring attention to humanitarian causes and great works that otherwise go unnoticed. The increased visibility that awards provide translates into increased public attention and awareness. And from “awareness” springs movements — the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the animal rights movement, and the movement to save the planet.
Recipients of awards represent the means by which the public is able to personally relate to a given cause. They become the lens through which a cause is experienced and embraced — the persona or face with which the public can readily identify.
Awards serve to magnify and educate. They celebrate, energize and “authenticate,” not individuals, but causes in ways mere press coverage cannot. More than any other form of documentation, peace awards record humankind’s highest ideals and aspirations — serving as guideposts on the pathway to peacemaking.
It is well to remember that awards brought attention to an obscure nun in Calcutta and her compassion for the poorest of the poor, to a black civil rights leader in America and his outrage over racist laws, to an exiled monk from Tibet and the destruction of his homeland, and to an incensed black bishop from SOWETO, and the immorality of apartheid. Through awards we become aware.
Awards are many things to many people, but at heart they constitute a testimony to the hopes, the dreams, and the actions that lie at the center of an individual’s commitment to a shared vision.