Drew CRCC to Honor Global Peacebuilders
Drew University’s Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict (CRCC) is pleased to announce its First Annual Awards Gala to be held in Mendham, New Jersey on March 31, 2014. Former Drew University President, Governor Thomas H. Kean, will serve as the Gala’s chair and keynote speaker. CRCC will present two major awards this year. The Peace through Truth and Reconciliation Award will recognize an individual who lives out the principle that seeking truth is a critical step toward building lasting peace. The Empowerment through Education Award will honor an outstanding individual or organization whose work embodies the ideals of building peace through education.
Don Mullan will receive the Peace through Truth and Reconciliation Award for his continuous work on civil and human rights campaigns throughout the world. At age 15, Mullan witnessed the massacre of 26 civil rights protesters and bystanders who were shot by soldiers of the British Army in Northern Ireland in 1972. He is the author of the bestseller, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth, which is credited as a primary catalyst for British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to establish a new Bloody Sunday Inquiry. Mullan’s testimony lead to Prime Minister David Cameron’s official apology in 2010 and ultimately helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
“Don has been tireless in his efforts to uncover the truth about distortions of history,” said Professor Christine Kinealy, a renowned Irish historian who will present the award to Mullan on March 31. “He’s passionate about Ireland, but his work demonstrates a universal demand. He’d say we can’t just argue our cause, because our cause is social justice everywhere.”
CRCC will also honor a local organization at the March Gala. The Morristown-based Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund (AGFAF) will receive the Empowerment through Education Award for its commitment to providing college education to Afghan women and to bringing social change to Afghanistan. Through AGFAF’s efforts, there are currently 26 young women studying at colleges around the U.S., many of whom already returned to Afghanistan this past summer to implement educational programs there.
“AGFAF understands the importance and value of education in building peace,” said Shamila Kohestani, the first student AGFAF enrolled in a U.S. college. Kohestani graduated from Drew in 2012 and today works at the International Republican Institute in Washington D.C “Investing in women’s education in Afghanistan will result in improving women’s lives, health, gender equality, and reducing poverty.”
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