US Peace Memorial Foundation
US PEACE PRIZE
The US Peace Prize recognizes the most outstanding Americans who have publicly opposed military solutions rather than diplomacy and global cooperation to solve international problems. Successful candidates will have taken a stand against military interventions such as invasion, occupation, production of weapons of mass destruction, use of weapons, threats of war, or other actions that threaten peace.
We hope to inspire others to speak out for peace and to work to end the hatred, ignorance, greed, and intolerance that lead to war by honoring courageous role models and leaders. Previous recipients and nominees are documented below. The details of the nomination process are included at the end of this chapter.
David Swanson Awarded 2018 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the has voted unanimously to award the 2018 US Peace Prize to The Honorable David Swanson “whose inspiring antiwar leadership, writings, strategies, and organizations help to create a culture of peace.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on August 26 at the Veterans For Peace 33rd Annual Convention held in St. Paul, MN.
In his remarks, Knox said, “Thank you, David, for dedicating your life to ending wars. You are one of the most prolific writers, speakers, activists, and organizers for peace. The breadth of your work is staggering. You have enlightened us with books that are in the forefront of modern antiwar thought; and with speeches, debates, conferences, blogs, billboards, radio shows, online courses, videos, websites, and more innovative ideas than we can name. We want you to know that your efforts are greatly appreciated, here and around the world.”
Upon learning of the award, David said, “This wonderful honor is definitely having the impact on me that I imagine is intended, namely it is inspiring me to keep at it and work harder to advance the abolition of war and the development of peaceful behaviors and institutions. Thank you for the pat on the back but also for the kick in the rear. We have a long ways yet to go.”
Mr. Swanson has written and contributed to many books about peace and has authored hundreds of articles and blog posts, including a plan to end wars. He serves as an advocate for peace on several campaigns and committees and is regularly invited to speak at antiwar rallies and meetings throughout the U.S. He hosts “Talk Nation Radio”, has developed and led antiwar organizations, workshops, and online courses, participated in debates at universities, and is featured in many videos and TV interviews. To learn more about his inspiring contributions since 2003, please review his listing in our publication, the .
In addition to receiving the US Peace Prize, our highest honor, Mr. Swanson has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. He joins previous recipients Ann Wright, Veterans For Peace, Kathy Kelly, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Nominees considered by the Board in 2018 included Daniel Ellsberg, Nancy Mancias, Colman McCarthy, Sharon Tennison, Sally-Alice Thompson, and S. Brian Willson. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of the recipient and all nominees in our publication, the .This year news of our Peace Prize made it to Europe – .
The US Peace Memorial Foundation directs a nationwide effort to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual , and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC. These projects help move the United States toward a culture of peace by honoring the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans and U.S. organizations that have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and to work for peace.
Please help us continue this important work. Join the list of individuals, organizations, and US Peace Prize recipients who are , and have your name permanently associated with peace. Founding Members are listed on our , in our publication the , and eventually at the .
Ann Wright Awarded 2017 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the has voted unanimously to award the 2017 US Peace Prize to The Honorable Ann Wright “for courageous antiwar activism, inspirational peace leadership, and selfless citizen diplomacy.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on August 12 at the Veterans For Peace national convention banquet, held at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago. Nearly 400 VFP members were in attendance.
In his remarks, Knox said, “Thank you, Ann, for your bravery, leadership, and tireless work to end war. Your efforts are greatly appreciated here and around the world.”
Upon learning of the award, Ann Wright said, “I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the US Peace Memorial 2017 Peace Prize. I accept it on behalf of everyone who works for peace everyday, in their home communities and nationally and internationally.”
In addition to receiving the US Peace
Prize, our highest honor, Wright has been designated a Founding
Member of the US Peace
Memorial Foundation. She joins
previous recipients Veterans For Peace, Kathy Kelly, CODEPINK
Women for Peace, Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis
Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Nominees considered by the Board in 2017 included
Erica Chenoweth, Garry Davis, Lynn
Elling, Keith Ellison, Joseph Gerson, Edward (Ted) Lollis,
Jim McDermott, Maria J. Stephan, David Swanson, and S. Brian Willson.
You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of
all recipients and nominees in our publication, the .
Veterans For Peace Awarded 2016 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the voted unanimously to award the US Peace Prize to Veterans For Peace “In recognition of heroic efforts to expose the causes and costs of war and to prevent and end armed conflict.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on August 13 at the Veterans For Peace national convention banquet, held at the University of California, Berkeley. In his remarks, Knox said, “Thank you, Veterans For Peace, for your tireless antiwar work, creativity, and leadership. Your organization is an inspiration to peace loving people throughout the world.”
The Peace Prize was accepted by Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive Director; Barry Ladendorf, President of the Board of Directors; and by Doug Rawlings, a VFP Founder, to loud applause from an audience of about 400.
President Ladendorf commented, “For 31 years, Veterans For Peace has been the only veterans organization that has consistently led the peace movement in an effort to abolish war, eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, expose the real costs of war, stand in solidarity with veterans and victims of war, and to keep our nation from interfering overtly and covertly into the affairs of other nations. This award is a great honor for Veterans For Peace and is a testament to the foresight, wisdom and dedication of our founders and to the thousands of VFP members worldwide who have led us in our non-violent struggle for a peaceful world. We are indeed grateful and honored to receive the 2016 US Peace Memorial Foundation Peace Prize.”
In addition to receiving our highest honor, the US Peace Prize, Veterans For Peace has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. They join previous recipients Kathy F. Kelly, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.
Distinguished Americans and nationally prominent U.S. organizations that were also nominated and considered for the award this year include Center for Global Nonkilling, Lynn M. Elling, Colman McCarthy, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the .
Kathy Kelly Awarded 2015 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the voted unanimously to award the US Peace Prize to The Honorable Kathy F. Kelly “for inspiring nonviolence and risking her own life and freedom for peace and the victims of war.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, during an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki. This Nagasaki day event, hosted by Pace e Bene and its Campaign Nonviolence, was held on the stage at Ashley Pond, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This is the place, geographically, where the first atom bombs were constructed.
In his remarks, Knox thanked Kelly for her service, great courage, and for all that she has sacrificed. “Kathy Kelly is a consistent and clear voice for peace and nonviolence. She is a national treasure and an inspiration to the world.”
In addition to receiving the 2015 US Peace Prize, our highest
honor, Kelly has been designated a Founding
Member of the US Peace
Memorial Foundation. She joins
recipients CODEPINK Women for Peace, Chelsea Manning,
Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.
Nominees considered by the Board in 2015 included Jodie Evans, Dr. Glenn
D. Paige, Coleen Rowley, World Beyond War, and Ann Wright. You can read about the antiwar/peace
activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the .
Upon learning of the award, Kathy Kelly said, “I’m grateful for the US Peace Memorial Foundation's recognition of realities about war and peace. War is worse than an earthquake. Following an earthquake, relief teams from around the world assemble, helping find survivors, comforting the afflicted, and initiating reconstruction. But as wars rage, many people watch the killing on television screens, feeling helpless to make a difference. Worse yet, many people sense with queasy discomfort that they themselves helped supply the weapons being used.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and see lost opportunities to be peacemakers. But we can become rehabilitated, as a society, transformed from a menacing, fearsome empire in decline into a society that earnestly wants to align with people dedicated to building peaceable societies.”
Kelly continued, “During a recent trip to Kabul, after listening to young friends envision growth of the street kids’ school they’ve begun, I felt a blend of relief and anxiety. It’s a relief to behold the youthful resolve which has enabled children from three different ethnic backgrounds to join under the same roof and learn, together, to read. It’s a relief to know that in spite of the fissures and the torrents of violence and despair, our young friends feel determined to persevere.
But I was anxious as to whether or not internationals would find the wherewithal to fund the school. In a moment of pique, I raised my voice and insisted to my young friends that all of the countries who’ve fought in Afghanistan, and most especially the U.S., should be paying reparations. ‘Kathy,’ Zekerullah gently admonished me, ‘please don’t make people in your country feel guilty. Don’t you think most people would rather build than destroy?’”
concluded, “Zekerullah would deftly assure us that
even as one hand holds a mirror for us to look into, the other offers to
reassuringly balance us, hold us, steady us. The US Peace Memorial helps build
this steadying influence, urging us to keep one foot planted amid people bearing
the brunt of war, and one foot just as firmly planted amid those who nonviolently
resist war making. The US Peace Memorial
Foundation helps us find our equilibrium, helps us rise.”
CODEPINK Awarded 2014 US Peace Prize
The US Peace Memorial Foundation has awarded the US Peace Prize to CODEPINK Women for Peace “In Recognition of Inspirational Antiwar Leadership and Creative Grassroots Activism.” Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on August 7 during a ceremony at The New Peace Center in Culver City, CA.
The plaque was accepted by co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, to overwhelming applause from an audience of about 100 people. In his remarks, Knox thanked CODEPINK for the great courage its members have shown and for the sacrifices they have made for peace. “CODEPINK is the most innovative, effective, and visible antiwar presence in the United States. Its approaches to peace and opposition to war are contemporary and receive more media and government attention than any other peace group. CODEPINK has shown what volunteers can do with limited resources. Their service is an inspiration to the world.”
In learning of the award, Jodie Evans remarked, “What a wonderful honor for tens of thousands of women and men of CODEPINK who take action, write letters to the editor, organize locally, travel globally, and live intentionally to create a more peace filled world. I feel blessed to work with this posse of angels who live from their hearts and gather under the banner CODEPINK, and those we collaborate with around the world who know that war is not the answer and the money we spend on war, weapons, and violence needs to be invested in our communities to achieve the peace and justice we all desire.”
Medea Benjamin noted: “After more than a decade of perpetual war, the American people are both war weary and war wise, understanding that a military response to violence only leads to more violence. While the military contractors and weapons manufacturers have made a killing, the rest of us - at home and abroad - have had to deal with death, suffering, PTSD, corruption, and depleted economies. I am honored to be part of a vibrant peace movement in CODEPINK and beyond, a movement that is now gaining traction with the general public that is more and more wary of calls for foreign military adventures. We don't do this work for recognition, but after so many years of exhausting work, getting this prize from the US Peace Memorial Foundation inspires us to continue our efforts to build a world where we take care of each other and our precious planet, and send the weapons-makers back to the drawing board to come up with a new set of products that are not designed to kill.”
CODEPINK is the first organization to be recognized in this way by the Foundation. Previous US Peace Prize recipients have been Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Nominees considered in 2014 included American Friends Service Committee, Garry Davis, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, and David Swanson. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
The US Peace Memorial Foundation’s highly focused mission is to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual , and planning for the in Washington, D.C. These projects can help move the United States toward a culture of peace, as we honor the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans who have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models as they inspire other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.
Chelsea Manning Awarded 2013 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation voted unanimously to award the US Peace Prize to The Honorable Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning “for conspicuous bravery, at the risk of his own freedom, above and beyond the call of duty.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on July 26 at a rally at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC. The reading of the inscription was met with great applause. In his remarks, Knox thanked Manning for his courage and for all that he has sacrificed for this country and the world. The plaque was accepted by Emma Cape, Campaign Organizer .
Many of Manning’s contributions are documented in the US Peace Registry. In addition to receiving the 2013 US Peace Prize, the US Peace Memorial Foundation’s highest honor, Manning has been designated a Founding Member, joining previous outstanding US Peace Prize recipients Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.
US Peace Prize nominees considered in 2013 included American Friends Service Committee, CodePink, Courage to Resist, Lynn Elling, Daniel Ellsberg, Food Not Bombs, and Ann Wright. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of this year's exceptional nominees in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
Upon hearing of the selection, nominee Daniel Ellsberg stated, “Bradley richly deserves this award, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize for which he's also been nominated, with support of more than 100,000 Americans. He was willing to sacrifice his freedom to bring the murderous realities of "twenty-first century asymmetric warfare" to the attention of this country and the world in a way that no one else has had the conscience or courage to do.”
Medea Benjamin Awarded 2012 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award the US Peace Prize to The Honorable Medea Benjamin in recognition of her creative leadership on the front lines of the antiwar movement. The award was presented October 28 at a ceremony in New York City.
In addition to receiving the 2012 US Peace Prize, our highest honor, Medea Benjamin has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. She joins previous US Peace Prize recipients Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.
Co-Founder of the grassroots effort CODEPINK Women for Peace, Medea Benjamin is an antiwar and human rights activist notable for assembling audacious disruptions to live proceedings that would otherwise obscure the facts of war, resulting in numerous arrests. She founded the International Occupation Watch Center to monitor the U.S. military and the effects of war on civilian populations and has staged and organized marches, petitions, fasts, humanitarian aid deliveries, sit-ins and vigils in protest of U.S. war, military contractors, foreign occupations, drones and harmful international alliances.
Benjamin’s projects have taken her to Iran, Gaza and other parts of the Middle East, Korea and elsewhere in Asia, Cuba and beyond in Latin America, and across North America and Europe, always in service to her mission. Her numerous articles and books have advanced the peace movement with revelations about drone warfare, the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and the intersection of climate action and the quest for a peaceful world.
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, thanked her for a decade of tireless, creative, and inspiring peace leadership and activism during which she has demonstrated, written, and spoken about ending wars; called attention to the devastation of U.S. wars; and served as a role model for others. Many of her actions against war and for peace are documented in the US Peace Registry.
In response to her selection, Ms. Benjamin commented, “I am honored and delighted to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of Americans who try to model the kind of citizen diplomacy we want our government to emulate. While our elected officials continue to fund war and massive military spending, we need to stand up and call for a foreign policy that promotes negotiations, respect and nonviolent solutions.”
In 2012 nominees considered for the included Pete Seeger, Bradley Manning, Kathy Kelly, Debra Sweet, Coleen Rowley, Gene Sharp, John Dear, and Daniel Ellsberg. Read about the antiwar/peace activities of the recipient and all nominees in our publication, the .
Noam Chomsky Awarded 2011 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award the 2011 US Peace Prize to The Honorable Noam Chomsky, “whose antiwar activities for five decades both educate and inspire.” This award was presented on October 1 at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of United for Justice with Peace held at Suffolk University in Boston, MA.
In presenting the award, Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, thanked Professor Chomsky for a half-century of peace activism during which he has taught, written, and spoken about ending war; has actively resisted violent responses to conflict by our government; and has served as a role model for others.
In addition to receiving the , our highest honor, Professor Chomsky has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. Many of his actions against war and for peace are documented at .
In response to receiving the Peace Prize, Professor Chomsky commented, “No need to say that I am pleased and honored to receive this award, and to be invited to join the former recipients, who have dedicated themselves with such courage and integrity to achieve peace with justice – which must be our goal, in a world of far too much needless misery and oppression, and facing such dire consequences unless action is undertaken vigorously and without delay.”
As a career linguist and academic, it is no wonder Dr. Chomsky has defined his life’s work by actively striving to improve human understanding. He testified on the origins of the Vietnam War before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1972, having marched on the Pentagon and co-organized an antiwar tax resistance action in the years preceding. He was repeatedly arrested and sometimes imprisoned for his protests, and his books have been banned where the control of ideas is the mode of the day.
Professor Chomsky began writing on topics of global concern at the age of 10, ultimately becoming one of the most influential intellectuals of the era. Uncorrupted by popularity or fame, he remains controversial – yet respected – for his globally published critiques of militant actions, totalitarian dictators, U.S. misadventures in foreign affairs, genocide, and permanent war.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich Awarded US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award The Honorable Dennis Kucinich the 2010 US Peace Prize “in recognition of his national leadership to prevent and end wars.” In addition to this, our highest honor, he has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation.
He received the award on December 9. Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, thanked him for his peace leadership and for serving as a role model to others. Congressman Kucinich stated, "Peace is not only an absence of conflict, but an active engagement which includes reaching out to others in the spirit of cooperation to resolve what can sometimes be significant differences. I accept this recognition in honor of the countless individuals who bring peace and love into the lives of those around them."
Since 2001, Representative Kucinich has consistently spoken out for peace and against war, publishing well-informed analyses, and making bold speeches both at public rallies and on the House floor. His voting record documents his commitment to opposing hostilities abroad. In 2004 and 2008 he was the only candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States who voted against the Iraq war authorization and every funding appropriation related to that war. In fact, he introduced a 12-point plan in the House to end the war in Iraq and went on to vote against the “Iran Freedom and Support Act,” which he deemed a “stepping stone to war” in that country.
It is not surprising that Dennis Kucinich has received many awards prior to this one. His actions, resolutions, and proposals have demonstrated concern for areas from Kosovo to Libya, from Afghanistan to Russia, from Syria to the Deep State. His commitment to making non-violence an organizing principle within our society while working selflessly to end the permanent state of war has been a guiding mission throughout his career, often at great political cost.
We are honored to award him the 2010 US Peace Prize. Many of his actions against war and for peace are documented at .
Cindy Sheehan Awarded 2009 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award The Honorable Cindy Sheehan the 2009 US Peace Prize for “extraordinary and innovative antiwar activism.” In addition to this high honor, she has been designated a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. Her history of diverse and impressive activities that advocate against war and for peace is documented at .
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, made the official announcement on December 12 at an antiwar rally in front of the White House. A She has served to raise the awareness of those who are not inclined to think about peace and the devastation of war. on the plaque was met with great applause. Ms. Sheehan received the award on December 30. Knox thanked her for her peace leadership and for serving as a role model to others.
Ms. Sheehan rose to national prominence in the antiwar movement in 2004 after her firstborn was killed in the Iraq war at age 24. Army Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan became an emblem of the era, with his mother’s dedication to espousing diplomacy and ending foreign occupation. Her legacy lives on in the efforts and organizations she led and co-founded, including Gold Star Families for Peace and her “Camp Casey” vigils near the Texas home of George W. Bush, resulting in the Camp Casey Peace Institute. Ms. Sheehan ran for Congress in the San Francisco area on an antiwar platform.
Ms. Sheehan’s alternative radio platform “Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox” is the culmination of innumerable speaking engagements, media appearances, published writings, courageous public stances, audacious interruptions, global recognitions, and numerous arrests, all of which have made her the first esteemed recipient of this award. The details of her antiwar actions may be read in our publication, the .
1. Nominations will be accepted from Founding Members until the end of April each year. Founding Members are listed at USPeaceMemorial.org/Donors.htm. If your name is not included there, please join us today.
2. Each Founding Member may nominate one outstanding and deserving individual or organization per year. To be considered for the US Peace Prize, the nominee must: (a) be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or organization; (b) have documented peace activities in the US Peace Registry; and (c) be active in antiwar/peace work within the 16 months prior to April 30 of the nomination year.
3. The US Peace Memorial Foundation’s Board of Directors makes the final decision for awarding the US Peace Prize. Information published in the US Peace Registry is the only data considered by the Board of Directors when making the selection. If you would like to nominate a person or organization not included in the US Peace Registry, please request that they submit their antiwar/peace activities for consideration by completing an Individual or Organization application form before April 30. Those already listed in the US Peace Registry should review and update their information by sending proposed changes and additions to .
4. Please submit the name of your US Peace Prize nominee to info@USPeaceMemorial.org by April 30. Include your nominee’s contact information (email and/or phone number) so that we may directly notify the individual or organization of the nomination.
US Peace Memorial Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity.
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