Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, to receive the Niwano Peace Prize

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Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka, to receive the Niwano Peace Prize

A press release from the Niwano Peace Foundation

While a relatively small island of twenty-two million people, Sri Lanka is a diverse country, home to multiple religions, ethnic groups, and languages. The country has suffered decades of violence and a civil war, which was ended only in 2009. Making things worse, Sri Lanka was hit by the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The end of the war brought new hope for sustainable peace, but the challenges to its achievement remain large.

The Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation was founded in 2002 by Dishani Jayaweera and Jayantha Seneviratne, who are also life partners and Sinhala Buddhists by birth. The CPBR is a non-profit organization promoting peacebuilding, peace-making and non-violent conflict transformation. It supports personal and societal transformation within and between ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional communities in Sri Lanka, working at all the grassroots, local and national levels. To achieve goals of national reconciliation, the CPBR focuses those considered to hold the greatest influence and promise for transformation: religious leaders, women, and young people.

The presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, May 12th, at 10:30 a.m. In addition to an award certificate, the CPBR’s representative will receive a medal and twenty million yen.

To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, every year the Peace Foundation solicits nominations from people of recognized intellectual and religious stature around the world. In the nomination process, some 600 people and organizations, representing 125 countries and many religions, are asked to propose candidates. Nominations are rigorously screened by the Niwano Peace Prize International Selection Committee, which was set up in May of 2003 on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Niwano Peace Prize. The Committee presently consists of ten religious leaders from various parts of the world, all of whom are involved in movements for peace and inter-religious cooperation. Here are some comments by members of the Committee on the selection of the CPBR for this year’s award:

– I support this organization because there is evidence in its work that positive results are achieved under trying and challenging circumstances. I am inspired and encouraged by the fact that it is locally led, and that its approach to peace building combines the energy and creativity of the youth, with the invaluable wisdom of clergy and the elders. (Ms. Nomfundo Walaza)

– I’ve been aware of the long war in Sri Lanka that ended in 2009. Despite that sadly conflicts have flared up from time to time because of the lack of reconciliation work between the religious communities. CPBR works to build trust and social ties that is key to reconciliation and peace engaging youth and religious leaders. Two Sinhala Buddhists set up the Center with compassion for humanity based on their Buddhist beliefs. (Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra)

The Niwano Peace Prize

The Niwano Peace Foundation established the Niwano Peace Prize to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace, and to make their achievements known as widely as possible. The Foundation hopes in this way both to enhance inter-religious understanding and cooperation and to encourage the emergence of still more persons devoted to working for world peace.

The Prize is named in honor of the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano. For Niwano, peace was not merely an absence of conflict among nations, but a dynamic harmony in the inner lives of people as well as in our communities, nations and the world. Seeing peace as the goal of Buddhism, Niwano devoted much of the latter half of his life to promoting world peace, especially through inter-religious discussion and cooperation.

Past Niwano Peace Prize recipients are:

1. Archbishop Helder P. Camara (1983)
2. Dr. Homer A. Jack (1984)
3. Mr. Zhao Puchu (1985)
4. Dr. Philip A. Potter (1986)
5. The World Muslim Congress (1987)
6. Rev. Etai Yamada (1989)
7. Mr. Norman Cousins (1990)
8. Dr. Hildegard Goss-Mayr (1991)
9. Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne (1992)
10. Neve Shalom/ Wahat al-Salam (1993)
11. Paulo Evaristo Cardinal Arns (1994)
12. Dr. M. Aram (1995)
13. Ms. Marii K. Hasegawa (1996)
14. The Corrymeela Community (1997)
15. Ven. Maha Ghosananda (1998)
16. The Community of Sant’Egidio (1999)
17. Dr. Kang Won Yong (2000)
18. Rev. Abuna Elias Chacour (2001)
19. Rev. Samuel Ruiz Garcia (2002)
20. Dr. Priscilla Elworthy (2003)
21. The Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (2004)
22. Dr. Hans Küng (2005)
23. Rabbis for Human Rights (2006)
24. Dharma Master Cheng Yen (2007)
25. His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal (2008)
26. Rev. Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha (2009)
27. Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt (2010)
28. Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa (2011)
29. Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez (2012)
30. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Gunnar Stålsett (2013)
31. Ms. Dena Merriam (2014)
32. Pastor Esther Abimiku Ibanga (2015)

The Niwano Peace Foundation

The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The Foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy. The Foundation’s endowment of about 4.0 billion yen makes possible the Niwano Peace Prize and other activities such as grants, research projects, lectures, symposia, and international exchanges. The Niwano Peace Foundation is a government-recognized charitable organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.

For further information please contact Mr. Tadashi Takatani of the Niwano Peace Foundation.
Tel: +81-3-3226-4371 Fax: +81-3-3226-1835  E-mail: [email protected]  URL: www.npf.or.jp

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