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SSU Champion of Peace Award

The Salem State University Champion of Peace Award is given every year on International Day of Peace, September 21, to a person or group on the North Shore, in the Boston metro area, or across the state who has championed a culture of peace, contributed to the promotion of the ideals of peace and justice, and taken practical action in favor of peace. The award will stress efforts to educate a wide range of people and show exceptional responsibility and influence in building peace in our families, communities, and the world

2014 Champion of Peace Award

The seventh recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was

Gene Sharp

Born in Honduras, Clementina Chery immigrated with her family to Dorchester. She had three children and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. Sadly, on December 20, 1993, things changed abruptly for Tina and her family. Her oldest son, then fifteen-year-old Louis Brown, was shot and killed on his way to a Christmas party being held by a group called Teens Against Gang Violence.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, to honor her son's memory, Clementina founded the Louis. D. Brown Peace Institute. The Institute is committed to providing education, outreach, and healing to family members of homicide victims. The Institute eventually developed a Peace Curriculum, which has become a nationally recognized program that teaches the value of peace to students from kindergarten through high school. It integrates reading, writing, classroom discussions, and community service to enable students to examine and practice the concepts of peace and peacemaking. The goal of this Peace Curriculum is to create an environment in which all young people can be safe.

A November 1996 report titled "One City's Success Story," cited the Louis D. Brown Peace Curriculum as one of the programs that contributed to the City of Boston's reduction in juvenile crime. US Attorney General Janet Reno authored this report. To transform her pain and anger into action, Tina Chéry realized there was a need to reach out to survivors of violence. Her goal was to give families of victims of violent crime a voice and provide assistance her family didn't have when Louis was killed. She founded the Survivors Outreach Program to support families immediately after a murder. This program helps families with personal matters from coordinating the family's network, to providing guidance, to assisting with funeral arrangements.

In all of their work, the members of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute apply seven core principles: peace love, unity, faith, hope, courage, justice and forgiveness. These are principles associated with restorative justice. On Mother's Day, May 10, 1996, Ms. Chéry inaugurated the annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace, a 3.6 mile-long peace walk around the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. This walk has now become well-known by Massachusetts residents statewide.

Inscribed on Plaque

Salem State University
Peace Institute
Clementina "Tina" Chery and
The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

For Your Creative Leadership and
Your Support for Victims of Violence
Which Offer a Noble Vision
For all Humanity

International Day of Peace
September 19, 2014

Professor Van Pham presents Champion of Peace award to Clementina Chery

2013 Champion of Peace Award

The sixth recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was

Gene Sharp

In his lifetime, Dr. Gene Sharp, through copious research and forceful writing, made nonviolence much better known.  His books, for example, From Dictatorship to Democracy and Waging Nonviolent Struggle, list 198 techniques that can be used to solve conflict nonviolently.  He stated his purpose was to “advance knowledge and understanding of the techniques of nonviolent struggle and its potential.”

Gene Sharp was born in 1928 in North Baltimore, Ohio, a small town of 3,000 in northwestern Ohio near Toledo.  He was the son of an itinerant Protestant minister. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences in 1949 and Master of Arts in Sociology in 1951 from Ohio State University.

In 1953-54, Sharp was jailed for nine months for protesting the drafting of soldiers for the Korean War. He discussed his decision to go to prison in letters to Albert Einstein.  After serving 9 months, he got out of prison and worked in a factory, then was a guide to a blind social worker, and then became secretary to A. J. Muste, America’s leading pacifist. From 1955 to 1958 he was Assistant Editor of Peace News, a weekly London pacifist newspaper. The next two years he studied and researched in Oslo with Professor Arne Naess who, together with Johan Galtung, derived from Mohandas Gandhi’s writings the Satyagraha Norms. In 1968, he received a Doctor of Philosophy in political theory from Oxford University.

For 30 years Sharp taught political science at the U Mass Dartmouth and Harvard University. He simultaneously did peace research at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs. In 1983 he founded the Albert Einstein Institute in Boston, a non-profit organization devoted to studying and promoting the use of nonviolent action in conflicts worldwide.

To illustrate just how significant nonviolence is Gandhi has famously said “Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of humanity.”  

Rob McAndrews presenting the plaque to Jamila Raqib, Executive Assistant to Gene Sharp
Rob McAndrews presents the plaque to Jamila Raqib,
Executive Assistant to Gene Sharp
Sharp's main theme was that power does not derive from some innate quality inside those who are in power. In his view, political power comes from the PEOPLE of the state. His fundamental belief was that any power structure or government relies upon the people’s obedience to the ruler. If subjects do not obey, rulers have no power.

In Sharp's view, power structures have complex systems for keeping people obedient. These systems include police, courts, and regulatory bodies, and also involve CULTURAL VALUES which inspire obedience. For example, the god cult of the Egyptian pharaohs, the Shogun of the Tokagawa shogunate, and the dignity of the office of the President of the US.  Within these systems, people are subject to PUNISHMENTS such as imprisonment, fines, and ostracism and REWARDS such as titles, wealth, and fame which influence the extent of their obedience.

Sharp identified this hidden structure, which allows the people so much power, as providng an opportunity for  people to effet nonviolent change. Sharp cited the insight of Etienne de La Boetie (1530 – 1563), that if the subjects of a particular state recognize that they are the source of the state's power, they can refuse their obedience and their leader will be left without power.

Sharp published his most famous book -Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential in 2005. It DOCUMENTS case studies where nonviolent action has been applied, it describes lessons learned, and it contains information on planning nonviolent struggle to make it more effective.

A feature documentary, "How to Start a Revolution" by Director Tory Arrow about the global influence of Gene Sharp's work was released in September 2011. The film won "Best Documentary" and "The Mass Impact Award" at the Boston Film Festival in September 2011. The European premiere was held at London's Raindance Film Festival on October 2, 2011 where it also won Best Documentary. The film has been described as the unofficial film of the Occupy Wall St movement because it was shown in Occupy camps all over the world.

Gene Sharp was nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize 3 times.

Sharp's scholarship influenced many resistance organizations, for example the protest movement that toppled President Mubarak of Egypt, youth  in Tunisia, and people leading the Eastern European revolutions. 

Sharp's 1993 handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, was first published in Burma in 2010. It has since been translated into 31 other languages. It served as a basis for the campaigns of Serbia’s Otpor, Georgia’s Kmara, Krygyzstan’s KelKel, and Belarus’ Zubr. The Ukraine student organization Pora’s leader, Oleh Kyriyenko, said in a 2004 interview with Radio Netherlands,

"The bible of Pora has been the book of Gene Sharp, From Democracy to Dictatorship, also used by Otpor. We have written to Mr Sharp and to the Albert Einstein Institute in the United States, and he became very sympathetic towards our initiative, and his Institution provided funding to print over 12,000 copies of this book for free."

Gene Sharp’s 198 strataegies for nonviolence, include demonstrations, marches, hunger strikes, boycotts, embargoes and leaflets.

It is an honor for the Peace Institute of Salem State University to recognize Gene Sharp as a Champion  of  Peace.

Inscribed on Plaque

Salem State University
Peace Institute
Gene Sharp
For Your Faith in
Nonviolent Struggle
And your Forceful Authorship
Which Offer The World
Truly Creative
Pathways to Peace

Hope Benne and Rob McAndrews present the plaque to Jamila Raqib, Executive Assistant to Gene Sharp

2012 Champion of Peace Award

The fifth recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was


On the evening of September 21, 2012, the Salem Peace Committee was presented the SSU Peace Institute's Champion of Peace award. At an exuberant celebration which included African drummers, a PowerPoint presentation on War and Peace in Africa, and an international buffet dinner, members of this committee were told why they were so greatly appreciated.

College of Arts and Sciences dean Jude Nixon presenting the COP award to the Salem Peace Committee

The Committee has been an active grassroots organization in Salem for 7 years. With 11 active members and 20 others who at times have been involved, they have organized workshops, vigils, and monthly showings of peace documentaries. They have written letters-to-the-editor questioning the use of violence, and helped establish a chapter of Occupy in Salem. They erected peace poles in Salem's parks and, working with students at Salem High Vocational School, they fashioned a sign and a sculpture on which is inscribed: Salem- City of Peace. With their overall goal to "promote an environment of peace in the city of Salem," they assert:

  • Peace is creative and powerful;
  • Peace is inclusive; it requires mutual respect and a commitment to justice for all.
  • Peace is not passive, it is an active pursuit
  • Peace is more than the absence of conflict
  • Peace is desirable, essential, and benefits everyone
  • Peace globally begins locally

Inscribed on Plaque

Salem State University
Peace Institute
The Salem Peace Committee
For your Faith that
Peace on Earth is Possible
And your Commitment
To Advancing it in Salem

2011 Champion of Peace Award

The fourth recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was


On International Day of Peace, September 21, 2011, Lewis Randa was presented the Peace Institute's Champion of Peace an exuberant ceremony which included many of his colleagues, friends, and relatives. As founder and Executive Director of the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, MA, Lewis has devoted his entire adult life to implementing various approaches to peace at the abbey and the Life Experience School. This magnificent haven creatively combines and brings to life information about scores of the world’s peacemakers and it also includes a multi-faith chapel, a peace museum, and a conference center.

Dean DeChillo presents Lewis Randa witht the Peace Institute's Champion of Peace award

Outdoors at the abbey is a peace display featuring a 9-foot- high bronze statue of Gandhi around which radiate columns with plaques commemorating scores of famous peacemakers from Johnny Appleseed, to Rumi, to Jane Addams. A Courage of Conscience award is presented annually to acclaimed peace makers such as Mother Theresa, Thich Nhat Hanh, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, and Muhammad Ali. There is also an Animal Sanctuary to honor animal rights, a Memorial to Civilians killed in war, and a monument to Conscientious Objectors.

Salem State University Peace Institute was extraordinarily proud to honor Lewis Randa.

Inscribed on Plaque

Salem State University
Peace Institute
Your Extraordinary Efforts for Peace
Offer a Noble Vision
For All Humanity

2010 Champion of Peace Award

The third recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was


American Friends Service Committee – New England Region under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Gerson received the SSU Champion of Peace award on International Day of Peace 2010. For 84 years members of this distinguished Cambridge-based organization have shown extraordinary commitment to the ideals of peace and justice. They have also shown leadership for nuclear weapons non-proliferation, advocacy of bringing US troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and support of reducing the military budget deserve recognition.

Dr. Joseph Gerson receiving the Peace Award from SSU president

Founded in 1926 and now consisting of 5 field offices, AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to peace programs throughout the world. Their efforts are based on belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Specific projects include advocating for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, shaping a just federal budget, eliminating nuclear weapons, strengthening relationships so that conflict is prevented, reforming immigration policy, transforming criminal justice systems, meeting economic needs of communities, and responding to humanitarian crises.

American Friends Service Committee was founded on an unfaltering belief in the essential dignity and worth of every human being, nonviolence as the way to resolve conflict, and the power of love to overcome oppression, discrimination, and injustice.

The New England chapter of AFSC has a central office in Cambridge and four satellite offices in Northampton, MA, Concord, New Hampshire, Providence, RI, and Perry, Maine.

Quakers are a Christian denomination founded in the 1600's in England. Originally called Society of Friends, they have been pacifists since their founding and renounce the use of violence to solve conflict.

American Friends Service Committee was founded in 1917 during World War I. They drove ambulances, ministered to the wounded, and stayed on in Europe after the armistice to rebuild war-ravaged communities. These forms of service allowed conscientious objectors who were pacifists to assist people during warfare without enlisting in the military or taking lives.

Following that modest beginning, AFSC has responded in numerous ways to human suffering such as:

  • Feeding thousands of children in Germany and Austria after World War I,
  • Helping distressed Appalachian mining communities find alternative means to make a living in the 1930s,
  • Negotiating with the Gestapo in Germany to aid Jewish refugees,
  • Sending aid teams to India, China, and Japan after World War II
  • Giving aid to civilians on both sides of the Vietnam War and providing draft counseling to thousands of young men,
  • Sponsoring conferences for young diplomats in emerging African democracies,
  • Establishing economic development programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America from the 1970s to the present,
  • Providing extensive support to the U.S. civil rights movement and public school desegregation,
  • Working with numerous communities such as Native Americans, immigrants, migrant workers, prisoners, and low-income families on education and justice issues,

Today's AFSC's programs touch a wide range of issues:

  • Fostering Peace in Communities with "summit meetings" between rival groups and gardens to bring diverse groups together
  • Fostering the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and building peace in those war-torn countries
  • Shaping a just federal budget based on human needs
  • Eliminating nuclear weapons
  • Strengthing relationships with other countries to prevent conflict
  • Humanely reforming immigration policy with fair and humane treatment of all people including immigrants with large scale immigration reform
  • Transforming criminal justice systems to community-based systems that promote healing, reconciliation, and righting harm done
  • Responsding to humanitarian crises such as earthquakes, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions

In 1947, AFSC was recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his presentation speech, Gunnar Jahn, chair of the Nobel Committee, recounted examples of Quaker relief work, pointing out that it was not the extent of the work, but the spirit in which it was performed that was so important:

"The Quakers have shown us that it is possible to carry into action something which is deeply rooted in the minds of many: sympathy with others; the desire to help others…without regard to nationality or race; feelings which, when carried into deeds, must provide the foundations of a lasting peace. For this reason, they are today worthy of receiving Nobel's Peace Prize."

Dr. Joseph Gerson received the Champion of Peace award for AFSC-New England Region.

Dr. Gerson has served AFSC for nearly 40 years. He is currently Director of Programs and Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program. He participated in New York City at the UN Review Conference on Non-proliferation in 2010 and organized a delegation of 50 Japanese anti-nuclear weapons activists including 3 survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima to attend.

Through the years he has helped organize the global "No Bases Network". He has promoted peace education and organizing to end the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

His work with AFSC has also included helping to launch the nuclear freeze campaign of the 1980s, preventing New England harbors from being transformed into nuclear weapons bases, helping with U.S. and global nuclear weapons abolition movements, and helping create peace and anti-war coalitions in the Boston area, across New England, and nationally and internationally.

Dr. Gerson has spoken at numerous international conferences, lectured at more than 70 U.S. colleges and universities, and spoken to and worked with countless community-based peace and justice organizations. He is a Vietnam era draft resister who received his under graduate degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1968 and his PhD in Politics and International Security Studies from the Union Institute in 1995.

Inscribed on Plaque

Salem State University
Peace Institute
Your Steadfast Commitment
To Peace and Justice
Offers a Noble Vision
For all Humanity

2009 Champion of Peace Award

The second recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was


in recognition of their efforts to train mediators to resolve conflict in local schools and communities.

North Shore Community Mediation Service has contributed to traditions and values which favor a culture of peace on the North Shore and richly deserved our Champion of Peace award.

It is an independent, non-profit agency founded in 1994. It provides mediation services for small claims, minor offenses, families and workplaces. It also offers mediation training for adults and teenagers. Peer mediation training is conducted in middle schools and high schools north shore wide. This cadre of young adults deeply understand the need for third party assistance in conflict resolution.

Every year North Shore Community Mediation holds day-long retreats with workshops and a keynote speaker for hundreds of idle school and high school peer mediators at Salem State University.

North Shore Community Mediation Service has an Executive Director and a Board of Directors with 8 members.

Executive Director Cynthia McClorey and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Josiah Morrill received the award.

Inscribed on Plaque

SSC Champion of Peace Award
North Shore Community Mediation Service

Your Spirited Commitment
To Mediation
Bolsters a Culture of Peace
On the North Shore

2008 Champion of Peace Award

Veterans for Peace of the North Shore

The first recipient of the Champion of Peace Award was

"Veterans for Peace showed extraordinary commitment to building peace. Reaching out in many ways with peace poetry contests, vigils, speeches in schools, support for Iraq vets, and collaboration with other vets and activists in many countries, they helped launch two nationwide peace groups, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Vets Against the War. They helped Cindy Crawford, Gold Star Mother, in her protest at Crawford, Texas, in 2005. Members worked together as a team. Mutual respect and tenacious commitment held them together. Paul Brailsford, founder of VFP, Ch. 45, participated for many years at Father Roy Bourgeois' protest at Fort Benning, Georgia to close the School of Americas.

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Last updated: October 15, 2014
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