US PEACE PRIZE
US Peace Prize recipients are National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, Costs of War, World BEYOND War, Christine Ahn,
Ajamu Baraka, David Swanson, Ann Wright, Veterans For Peace, Kathy Kelly, CODEPINK Women for Peace,
Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan.
The US Peace Memorial Foundation awards the US Peace Prize to recognize and honor the most outstanding American antiwar leaders. These courageous individuals and organizations have publicly opposed military interventions such as invasion, occupation, production of weapons of mass destruction, use of weapons, threats of war, or other actions that threaten peace. By honoring these and other courageous role models, we hope to inspire more Americans to speak out for peace and to work to end the hatred, ignorance, greed, and intolerance that lead to war. Recipients have been designated as Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. Read details about the inspiring antiwar/peace activities of the recipients and all nominees in the US Peace Registry.
US Peace Prize recipients and nominees are documented below.
(See the nomination process and procedure at www.USPeaceMemorial.org/Nominations.htm.)
National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth Awarded 2023 US Peace Prize
The 2023 US Peace Prize was awarded to the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) “For National Efforts to Stop U.S. Military Influence on Young People, Saving Lives Here and Abroad.” NNOMY was selected unanimously by the Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation.
The US Peace Prize was presented on September 19, 2023, at the Peace Resource Center of San Diego by Michael Knox, Chair and Founder of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. In his remarks, Dr. Knox said, “National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth shields young lives from some of the strongest influences of militarism. Your work not only saves U.S. lives by dissuading young people from joining the military - it also saves the lives of people in distant countries who they could harm once they were part of the U.S. war machine. NNOMY positively impacts countless young adults, and its nationwide efforts involve the contributions of many stellar antiwar figures and organizations. The US Peace Prize is a prestigious honor that will help call attention to and reinforce your important work for peace.”
The award was accepted by Rick Jahnkow, the organization’s Steering Committee Representative,
and several network members. Pictured above are
Kendall Brown of On Earth Peace, Gary
Ghirardi of NNOMY, Michael Knox, and Rick
Jahnkow and Cassy Hernandez of Project
Rick Jahnkow responded, “NNOMY is grateful for receiving this award and the recognition it will, hopefully, bring to the urgent need to counter the militarization of young people. Protesting war once it begins is never enough; if we are ever going to have a truly effective peace movement, it must include proactively reaching out to and engaging with younger generations in order to groom them to become activists for peace, instead of war. It is this long-term vision that NNOMY brings to the peace movement.”
NNOMY is an organization that brings together national, regional, and local groups to oppose the military’s growing intrusion into young people’s lives, focusing on trying to slow the process of militarization in schools by Pentagon programs designed to promote recruitment into military service. By training and sending antiwar counter-recruiters to speak with high school students, NNOMY attempts to change the minds of young adults considering joining the U.S. military. NNOMY also offers alternatives to entering the military and its wars, focusing on communities significantly affected by military recruiting and the violence of militarism.
Other US Peace Prize nominees in 2023 were Gerry Condon, Francesco Da Vinci, Daniel Ellsberg, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Abby Martin, and Jill Stein. Read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in the US Peace Registry.
Costs of War Awarded 2022 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award the 2022 US Peace Prize to Costs of War “For Crucial Research to Shed Light on The Human, Environmental, Economic, Social, and Political Costs of U.S. Wars.”
On September 30, 2022, Michael D. Knox, US Peace Memorial Foundation Chair, presented the US Peace Prize to Costs of War at a workshop held at Watson Institute, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. He thanked them for their important work that could help end U.S. wars. Knox said, “The research and scholarly publications generated by Costs of War’s faculty and staff provide accurate data that can truly impact our public and foreign policy. Your outreach to the media, lawmakers, and educators helps to build momentum towards reversing long-standing patterns of U.S. militarism.”
The program’s Co-Directors, Drs. Neta C. Crawford, Catherine Lutz, and Stephanie Savell issued this joint statement in response to receiving the award: “On behalf of our global network of over 50 scholars and experts, we’re thrilled to receive the US Peace Prize for the Costs of War and deeply honored to be included amongst the other exemplary awardees. This prize is a testament to the tireless hard work and creative vision of so many people, from the scholars who share their findings with the public to the many people who build Costs of War’s impact from behind the scenes; all of us share a passion for working against militarism.” Photo Note: Dr. Lutz (center), Dr. Crawford (right), Dr. Savell not shown.
Costs of War is a research collaboration housed at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. It brings together the work of scholars and experts from various disciplines and backgrounds based at different universities and other organizations. Through ongoing research and analysis of the impacts of the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere, the group seeks to educate the American public and its leaders about the often unacknowledged human, economic, political, social, and environmental costs of war, both in the U.S. and internationally. Since Costs of War was founded in 2011, its contributors have regularly published papers and data documenting the death tolls of wars, the number of displaced people, the U.S. budgetary costs, and the geographic expanse of U.S. counterterrorism operations. Having been recently cited in a presidential speech, Costs of War’s research findings prompt Americans to ask relevant and well-informed questions about U.S. wars.
The other 2022 US Peace Prize nominees were the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, Randolph Bourne Institute, and RootsAction.org. Read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
World BEYOND War Awarded 2021 US Peace Prize
The 2021 US
Peace Prize has been awarded to World BEYOND War “for exceptional global advocacy and creative peace education to end war and
dismantle the war machine.”
US Peace Memorial Foundation Chair Michael Knox thanked World BEYOND War and its members “for years of outstanding and prolific antiwar actions and extensive peace educational projects involving many people and organizations. The Foundation appreciates your leadership and the significant impact your members and programs have had throughout the world.” Click here to watch a video of the 2021 US Peace Prize presentation.
The Peace Prize was accepted by Leah Bolger, President, and David Swanson, Executive Director, during A Global Webinar “The Past and Future of Armistice/Remembrance Day” held on November 04, 2021.
Upon learning of the award, David said, “World BEYOND War has grown so large that this prize needs to be shared among hundreds of thousands of people, not just in the United States but around the world. We are deeply honored to be placed in the company of the amazing individuals and organizations who have previously received the US Peace Prize and are grateful for all the work done by the US Peace Memorial Foundation to advance demilitarization and the building up of a culture of peace in the world's leading war-making nation.”
Leah remarked, “I am thrilled that World BEYOND War is the recipient of the 2021 US Peace Prize! I believe that World BEYOND War is doing some tremendous work, and it is so gratifying to have that work recognized and lifted up by the US Peace Memorial. Winning this year's US Peace Prize is quite an honor, and validation that WBW might just be onto something! The publicity and attention this award will bring will only help broaden our international network working together to abolish war forever.”
World BEYOND War is a grassroots, global network of activists, chapters, and affiliated organizations that advocate for war abolition and establishing a just and sustainable peace. Since it was founded in 2014, WBW has worked to debunk the myths that war is inevitable, just, necessary, or beneficial. Instead, it advocates for an “alternative global security system” based on demilitarizing security, managing conflict nonviolently, and creating a culture of peace. A core pillar of WBW’s work is peace education, which outlines the economic, environmental, democratic, cultural, and moral downsides of war and preparations for war. The organization’s grassroots campaigns focus on weapons divestment and closing military bases around the world as critical steps toward dismantling the war machine.
The other 2021 US Peace Prize nominees were Julian Aguon, Bruce Gagnon, David Hartsough, and National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth.
Christine Ahn Awarded 2020 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award the 2020 US Peace Prize to The Honorable Christine Ahn “for bold activism to end the Korean War, heal its wounds, and promote women’s roles in building peace.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, thanked Christine for her “outstanding leadership and activism to end the Korean War and halt militarism on the Korean Peninsula. We applaud your tireless work to involve more women in peace building. Your efforts over the last two decades are greatly appreciated in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you for your service.” Click here to watch a video of the 2020 US Peace Prize presentation.
In response to her selection, Ms. Ahn commented, “On behalf of Women Cross DMZ and all the courageous women who are working to end the Korean War, thank you for this tremendous honor. It is especially significant to receive this award in the 70th anniversary of the Korean War — a war that claimed four million lives, destroyed 80 percent of North Korean cities, separated millions of Korean families, and still divides the Korean people by the De-militarized Zone (DMZ), which in reality is among the most militarized borders in the world.
Sadly, the Korean War is known as the ‘Forgotten War’ in the United States, even though it continues to this day. That’s because the U.S. government refuses to negotiate a peace agreement with North Korea while continuing to wage a brutal war of sanctions against innocent North Korean people and impede reconciliation between the two Koreas. Not only is the Korean War the longest standing overseas U.S. conflict, it is the war that inaugurated the U.S. military industrial complex and put the United States on the path to become the world’s military police.
I humbly accept this award on behalf of the countless and nameless Korean activists whose lives have been destroyed in their quest for peace and reunification, as they faced tremendous obstacles by forces that continue to profit from this unended war. For me, too, the road to peace has not been easy. I have been redbaited, surveilled, denied entry to my homeland, and, hardest of all, alienated within my own family. But this peace prize sends a strong message of hope to the diasporic communities here in the United States. It not only affirms our mission of peace but also the critical role that women play in that effort. It’s time to move U.S. foreign policy away from endless wars that have sown chaos and violence in our homelands, and to recognize the leadership of women in creating the conditions that normalize peace.
I am eternally grateful to the US Peace Memorial Foundation for recognizing me, Women Cross DMZ, and all the people who have devoted their lives to seeing peace in Korea.”
Christine Ahn has been a strong and outspoken advocate for peace in Korea for nearly two decades, working for a formal end to the Korean War with a peace agreement, normalized relations, and tangible demilitarization on the Korean Peninsula. Ms. Ahn focuses on including women in the peace-building process by organizing initiatives, campaigns, and educational projects that encourage women to take an active leadership role. She has planned and participated in women’s peace walks across the demilitarized zone, traveled with delegations to provide humanitarian aid to North and South Korea, met with Korean leaders, and addressed the United Nations as well as the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament, challenging both governments on their anti-Korea, pro-war foreign policy.
Ms. Ahn is the Co-founder, Executive Director, and International Coordinator of Women Cross DMZ. A columnist and author, she has been the keynote speaker at major universities and is frequently interviewed by the media.
The other 2020 nominees were Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas C. Fox, Tulsi Gabbard, Alfred L. Marder, Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, and World BEYOND War.
Ajamu Baraka Awarded 2019 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation has voted unanimously to award the 2019 US Peace Prize to The Honorable Ajamu Baraka, “whose bold antiwar actions, writings, speeches, and leadership provide an inspiring voice against militarism.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on September 23, 2019, during the forum "A Path to International Peace: Realizing the Vision of the United Nations Charter," which was held at the Community Church of New York. CLICK HERE to view a video of the presentation.
In his remarks, Knox said, “Thank you, Ajamu, for your outstanding domestic and international activism to end wars and militarism. We applaud your long and distinguished record of working for social justice, human rights, civil rights, and peace. Many antiwar organizations have benefitted from your innovative leadership and consultation. You are a force in revitalizing the Black antiwar tradition. I believe that Black Alliance for Peace could be the most important new antiwar organization established this century. We want you to know that your efforts are greatly appreciated here and around the world. Thank you for your service.”
In his acceptance, Ajamu said, “I want to thank the US Peace Memorial Foundation, Dr. Michael Knox and the Board of Directors for this great honor and for your faith in me and my work. I accept this award this evening with great honor and humility. I accept not as an individual but as a member of a collective of peace and antiwar activists, many of whom are in this room tonight, who paved the way with their sacrifice, courage and unwavering dedication to the idea that we can live in a world without war. We envision a world where human beings can be free to live liberated from brutality, the madness of state and non-state violence in all forms, from direct military engagements to the war of sanctions. We believe that there is in fact an alternative to the irrationality that we call “modernity” built on conquest, slavery, economic exploitation and ongoing colonial domination. So, I accept this on behalf of those visionaries, on behalf of the Black Alliance for Peace, on behalf of all those who are committed to peace but who understand that there can be no peace without justice, and for justice - we have to struggle to achieve it.”
Ajamu Baraka, a Vietnam-era war veteran, is a social justice and human and civil rights activist who was the Green Party's nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2016. In 1997, he was one of the 300 human rights defenders from around the world who were honored in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations' signing of the United Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In addition to being the national organizer and spokesperson for Black Alliance for Peace, Baraka is also an administrative committee member for the United National Antiwar Coalition and an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council. For years he has been a force in revitalizing the Black antiwar tradition, an influence on domestic and international education, and an outspoken advocate against the U.S. foreign policy of “humanitarian” intervention and U.S. military presence in other countries. His numerous contributions include giving speeches and interviews, writing articles, providing consultation and leadership, and taking part in delegations and panels.
Nominees considered in 2019 included Erica Chenoweth, Stephen D. Clemens, Thomas C. Fox, Bruce K. Gagnon, Jewish Voice for Peace, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, Sally-Alice Thompson, Women's March on the Pentagon and World BEYOND War.
David Swanson Awarded 2018 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation 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, 2018, at the Veterans For Peace 33rd Annual Convention held in St. Paul, MN. CLICK HERE to view a video of the presentation ceremony.
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 was featured in many videos and TV interviews. To learn more about his inspiring contributions since 2003, please review his listing in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
Nominees considered in 2018 included Daniel Ellsberg, Nancy Mancias, Colman McCarthy, Sharon Tennison, Sally-Alice Thompson, and S. Brian Willson.
Ann Wright Awarded 2017 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation 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, 2017, 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.”
Ann Wright is a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and former U.S. diplomat who now works as a peace activist. She has taken part in peace delegations to Pakistan and Yemen to protest drone warfare, citizen diplomacy trips to Afghanistan and Iran, and participated in delegations to provide humanitarian aid. The co-author of a book entitled Dissent: Voices of Conscience, she has spoken at many events opposing war and written numerous articles, op-ed pieces, and blogs about the cost of war and challenging the war policies of the United States. An outspoken advocate for nonviolent solutions to conflict, Ms. Wright has been arrested multiple times for her actions disrupting congressional activities to demand an end to civilian casualties and calling for an end to U.S. drone strikes, and demonstrating and participating in protests, including against the continued development of nuclear weapons by the U.S.
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.”
considered 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 US Peace Registry.
Veterans For Peace Awarded 2016 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation 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, 2016, 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.”
Veterans For Peace is an organization of military veterans and supporters working to end and prevent wars worldwide. Founded in 1985, VFP has grown over the past thirty years to include more than 100 chapters across the United States, as well as chapters in Europe and Asia. Many VFP members know first-hand the costs of war for both soldiers and civilians. Thousands of veterans have joined the organization's efforts to educate the public, heal the wounds of war, and build a culture of peace.
Distinguished Americans and nationally prominent U.S. organizations that were also nominated and considered for the award in 2016 include Center for Global Nonkilling, Lynn M. Elling, Colman McCarthy, and Psychologists for Social Responsibility.
Kathy Kelly Awarded 2015 US Peace Prize
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation 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, presented the award on August 9, 2015, 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.”
Kathy Kelly is a peace activist and pacifist who has traveled frequently to Middle East war zones to help coordinate relief work, bring food and medicine to civilians affected by armed conflicts, and report on her experiences observing the devastation caused by war. She has met with youth in several war-torn countries to assist in organizing peace campaigns. The author of numerous articles and books opposing war, Ms. Kelly advocates for the use of civil disobedience to push for change and has been arrested and imprisoned many times for her actions including protesting against drone warfare. She has received more than a dozen awards in recognition of her efforts working for peace and social justice and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times.
considered 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 US Peace Registry.
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, 2014, 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. Nominees considered in 2014 included American Friends Service Committee, Garry Davis, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, and David Swanson.
CODEPINK: Women For Peace is a women-initiated grassroots peace movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations and redirect government resources to life-affirming activities including healthcare, education, and green jobs. Since the organization was founded in 2002, it has led numerous delegations to Iraq and Gaza that have gained significant media attention. CODEPINK's efforts focus on opposing militarism globally, through civil resistance and directly challenging corporate and government decision-makers.
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 her own freedom, above and beyond the call of duty.
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on July 26, 2013, 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 her courage and for all that she has sacrificed for this country and the world. The plaque was accepted by Emma Cape, Pvt. Manning Support Network Campaign Organizer.
Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, shared thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents that revealed facts about the corruption of the U.S. government, a secret U.S. war in Yemen, the U.S. State Department marketing weapons to other countries, and U.S. records of massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite facing court martial and imprisonment, Manning leaked this information to show the American public the "true costs of war" and "spark a debate about foreign policy." Manning has received awards from numerous organizations for these courageous actions and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times.
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.
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, 2012, at a ceremony in New York City.
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.
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 distinguished nominees considered for the US Peace Prize included Pete Seeger, Bradley Manning, Kathy Kelly, Debra Sweet, Coleen Rowley, Gene Sharp, John Dear, and Daniel Ellsberg.
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, 2011, 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 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 2010 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.”
He received the award on December 9, 2010. 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 by publishing well-informed analyses, sponsoring legislation, 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.
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.” Her history of diverse and impressive activities that advocate against war and for peace led to her selection as the first US Peace Prize recipient.
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, made the official announcement on December 12, 2009, at an antiwar rally in front of the White House. A reading of the inscription 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. She has worked tirelessly to raise the awareness of those who are not inclined to think about peace and the devastation of war.
Ms. Sheehan rose to national prominence in the antiwar movement in 2004 after her firstborn son 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.
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