By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 January, 2014
Pope Francis has been nominated for Ireland’s premier peace award.
The Pope has been nominated both as an individual and as a religious leader, “noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths.”
Previous laureates of the Tipperary International Peace Award include the recently deceased South African statesman, Nelson Mandela, the former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev and late Senator Gordon Wilson from Enniskillen, as well as former US President Bill Clinton and former Irish President Professor Mary McAleese and her husband Senator Martin McAleese.
The four other nominees for the 2013 award are former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass who has tried unsuccessfully in recent days to broker an agreement between the parties in Northern Ireland on some of the outstanding issues of the peace process including the issues of flags, parades and the past.
Other nominees are Sr Mary Tarcisa Lokot, who is well known for her work to rebuild peace in war-ridden Northern Uganda and for her willingness to reach out to those who once were responsible for mass killings.
The organisation she works with, ARLPI (Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative) has been involved in interfaith dialogue, and has contributed significantly to constrain violence in Northern Uganda.
The other two nominations are the International Peace Bureau, which is dedicated to the vision of a world without War.
The Bureau is made up of 300 member organisations in 70 countries. Together with individual members they form a global network, bringing together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause.
Korean, Dr Lee Kyu Hyung, is an advocate for peace through Martial arts. He helped to found the Taekwondo Peace Corps which travels the world to promote peace through Taekwondo.
Last year’s winner was Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, in recognition of her advocacy of the right to education of girls, despite the Taliban’s attempted assassination of her.