Niwano Peace Prize goes to Palestinian-American peacebuilder

 Niwano Peace Prize goes to  Palestinian-American peacebuilder  ING-009
01 March 2024

Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer is the winner of the 2024 Niwano Peace Prize.

A statement released by the Niwano Peace Foundation on Tuesday, 27 February, said the American Palestinian scholar’s dedication to peace transcends mere academic pursuits. “What is most impressive about his work is his holistic contribution to the cause of peace,” it read, noting that his contribution “integrates education with conflict resolution and peacebuilding activities, particularly through his profound understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation in Islam and applying it effectively in practice.”

In recognition of Professor Abu-Nimer’s  lifelong commitment to peace and interfaith dialogue, the statement underscored that, “In light of the ongoing conflict in his homeland, Israel/Palestine, which has escalated into one of the region’s most devastating wars, we believe that there could not be more fitting and timely recipient for this year’s Niwano Peace Prize.”

In a constant effort to maintain a global perspective, the Niwano Peace Foundation seeks nominations from individuals of recognized intellectual and religious standing worldwide. The rigorous selection process involves input from designated nominators and organizations across diverse religions and academic backgrounds. Members of the Niwano Peace Prize Committee responsible for selecting this year’s recipient had these impressions of Professor Abu-Nimer’s remarkable contributions:

“As a professor of Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University, he founded the Salam Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, and practice on issues related to conflict resolution, non-violence, human rights, and development.”

“His profound involvement in interfaith and intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding, and community development in various conflict zones demonstrates his commitment to bridging differences.”

“Professor Abu-Nimer, a Sufi Muslim, has been a trailblazer in interreligious dialogue, working in conflict zones such as Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Mindanao (Philippines), the Balkans, and numerous African countries, among others.”

“His impact extends beyond academic realms, with initiatives like the Peacebuilding and Development Institute and the academic Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, which he co-founded to advance intellectual discourse in peacebuilding.”

The statement concluded by noting that Professor Abu-Nimer’s efforts “have impacted multiple spaces and fields, and he has an incredibly impressive record of leading, training, facilitating, and building, all deeply rooted in and inspired by the Islamic tradition,” and that his work to promote peace, understanding, and cooperation have rightfully earned him this prestigious accolade.

The Niwano Peace Prize, named in honour of Foundation founder Nikkyo Niwano, aims to recognize and encourage those who significantly contribute to inter-religious cooperation, fostering global peace. Nikkyo Niwano envisioned peace not only as the absence of conflict among nations but as a dynamic harmony within individuals and communities.

The Niwano Peace Prize ceremony is scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, 14 May 2024. Along with a certificate of recognition, Professor Abu-Nimer will be awarded a medal and a grant of twenty million yen.

By Linda Bordoni