The Common Ground Awards are presented annually to honor outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building, and peacebuilding. Recipients have made significant contributions toward bridging divides between people and finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. We honor groups or individuals who have dealt with conflicts in new ways, who have met crises with creativity, wisdom and courage, and who can inspire and bring hope to others.
Award recipients work internationally or in their local communities. How they deal with the challenges of conflict varies. Yet they all show us our best selves and what can be achieved when we work with, and for, each other.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Lifetime of Peacebuilding Award recognized Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and hero of South Africa’s struggle for democracy and justice. His profound moral authority made him the obvious choice to lead the effort to heal the deep wounds of apartheid through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Archbishop Tutu was honored for his absolute commitment to finding the common humanity in all people, all times.
Pioneering journalist Ted Koppel was the recipient of the Award for Bridging Differences Through Television for his Nightline town meetings, which have sought to foster authentic dialogue, under the most trying conditions, between Israelis and Palestinians, South African blacks and whites, and representatives of the Catholic Church and the gay community.
Daniel Pearl Foundation
The Award For Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding was given to the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded by the family of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan while pursuing a story about extremist groups sympathetic to Al-Qaeda. The foundation is recognized for nurturing truth seeking and cross-cultural respect personified by Daniel’s life and work.
The Award for Creating New Generations of Peacemakers was presented posthumously to John Wallach, for his formation, through Seeds of Peace, of a cadre of young Arabs and Israelis who have come to know each other as human beings and friends, rather than as dehumanized enemies. When peace is eventually achieved in the Middle East, Seeds’ alumni are sure to lead the way.
Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix
The Award for Building Peaceful Communities was presented to Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix. When Mr. Khamisa’s young son was murdered, he reached out to the killer’s grandfather, Mr. Felix, in an amazing act of forgiveness. Through the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, they now work together in San Diego to stop children from killing children.