Common Ground Awards

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The Common Ground Awards

"The First annual Common Ground Awards were established in 1998 by Search for Common Ground to acknowledge outstanding achievements in conflict resolution internationally and in the United States. The awards seek to recognize individuals and organizations that, through their unique and individual approach, have taken the task of finding common ground between parties in conflict to new heights.


1998 [1]

  • Former President Jimmy Carter received the Common Ground Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary efforts to resolve conflicts and improve the human condition throughout the world.
  • Senator George Mitchell received the Common Ground Award for International Peacemaking for his work in Northern Ireland that led to an historic step towards peace and reconciliation.
  • Maitre Alioune Blondin Beye (posthumously) received the Special International Common Ground Award to honor his outstanding work in the conflict in Angola.
  • The Alliance of Concerned Men received the Common Ground Award for Community Peacemaking for their outstanding work with urban gangs, mediating conflicts and teaching alternatives to violence.
  • Columnist, William Raspberry, received the Common Ground Award for Journalism for his fair-minded, constructive and consistently influential writing.
  • Melvin Douglas and Abbas Jadidi jointly received the Common Ground Award for Sports for their excellence in sportsmanship. This American and Iranian worked as citizen diplomats and found common ground through wrestling.
  • Deborah Tannen received the Common Ground Award for Books for authoring The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue, which highlights the adversarial nature of public discourse and the need to find creative and constructive ways of resolving disputes.

1999 [2]

  • Peter C. Angelos and the Gov't of Cuba for organizing a series of baseball games between the United States and Cuba

2000 [3]

  • The 2000 Award for International Peacemaking was presented to Kim Dae Jung and Kim Jong Il, the leaders of South and North Korea, for their historic breakthrough in efforts to resolve the countries' fifty-year-old conflict. Last summer's initiative paved the way for Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's recent visit to North Korea. Additional honors included:
  • The Music Award to conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim for creation of the Middle East Youth Orchestra
  • The Congressional Cooperation Award to Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-NE) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) for their bipartisan effort that led to passage of the bill granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China
  • The Film Award to actor and director Edward Norton for his recent film, "Keeping the Faith"
  • The Special Achievement Award to Libby Rouse, co-founder of the planned community of Columbia, Maryland and grandmother of Edward Norton
  • The Book Award to William Ury for his new book, Getting to Peace (Dr. Ury is also co-author of Getting to Yes.)
  • The Community Award to Assistant U.S. Attorney Loretta C. Biggs, for bringing together community leaders, police, and politicians to reduce youth crime in several North Carolina cities.
  • The Special posthumous Award to Ambassador Peter D. Constable, founding director of Search for Common Ground in the Middle East.

2001 [4]

  • Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Spencer Bachus (R- AL), of the liberal and conservative parties respectively, received the Congressional Cooperation Award for their joint leadership in passage of a bill to provide debt relief to 22 of the world's poorest countries.
  • The Good Neighbor Award was given to leaders of St Thomas More Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, and Dar Alarqam Mosque of Lynnwood, Washington, for their gestures of solidarity and mutual support following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Additional honors included:

  • The Forgiveness Award to Linda and Peter Biehl for establishing the Amy Biehl Foundation in memory of their daughter, who was murdered in South Africa. The Foundation provides development and humanitarian assistance to the township where Amy was killed.
  • The Sports Award to Ljupco Markovski and Nexhmedin Memedi, star players of Macedonian and Albanian ethnicity for the Macedonian national soccer team, for making a joint television public service announcement for Macedonian denouncing violence and appealing for national unity.
  • The Community Peace-Building Award to Joseph and Clementina Chery who founded the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to develop school curriculum material that teaches the values of peace and non-violence, especially in violence-prone communities

2002 [5]

  • The Lifetime of Peacebuilding Award recognized Archbishop Desmond 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

2003 [6]

2004 [7]

  • Common Ground International Diplomacy Award presented to Atal Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, and Gen. Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan for their courageous commitment to re-launch a peace process between their two countries.
  • Common Ground International Peacemaking Award presented to the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Christian lay movement of 40,000 members, to acknowledge, among other accomplishments, its role as a behind-the-scenes facilitator in the Mozambique peace process.
  • Common Ground Reconciliation through the Arts Award presented to the Pontanima Choir from Sarajevo, an interfaith group formed in 1996, composed of Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslims, and Jews, dedicated to the healing of post-war Bosnia through the spirituality of music and the peace potential of religions.
  • Common Ground Sports through Diplomacy Award presented to Breaking the Ice, a joint expedition of four Israelis and four Palestinians to Antarctica in January 2004 aiming at providing an inspirational model for cooperation and mutual understanding in the Middle East.
  • Common Ground Community Peacebuilding Award presented to Carolina RAIN, a community network of different faith traditions, reaching out to provide HIV/AIDS care and education.

2004 [8]

  • This year's recipients include the late Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski (click here to read biography), whose wife, Vilma Trajkovska will accept this posthumous award in recognition of her husband's efforts at bringing peace and reconciliation to his war-torn country.
  • The European Common Ground Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Werner Lottje (click here to read biography), a German visionary lawyer and human rights activist. He has spent his career supporting and advising European institutions in the area of human rights and conflict transformation.
  • The European Common Ground Reconciliation through the Arts Award goes to Moussia Haulot (click here to read biography), for a Belgian initiative called 'Tambours pour la Paix' or 'Drums for Peace'. The initiative encourages children to write poetry to express their dreams for the future and involves them in the struggle against violence in the world.
  • The European Common Ground Community Peace building Award goes to Don Piero Gallo (click here to read biography), an Italian parish priest who has worked tirelessly to relieve tensions between the Italian community and the migrant community in his multiethnic parish.

2005 [9]

2006 [10]

Sesame Workshop John Whitehead Taylor Branch David Broza and Wissam Murad & Said Murad Bradley Burston, Simone Korkus, Vivian Salama (Middle East Journalism)

  • We were honored to welcome Lt.-Gen. (Ret.) The Honorable Senator Romeo Dallaire to be the special guest speaker. The Senator spoke about his focus on the elimination of the use of child soldiers as weapons of war, and about his global initiative in partnership with SFCG on this critical issue.
  • Israeli music star David Broza was there to receive the Music Award, and to everyone's enthusiastic delight, he and Palestinian musician Ibrahim Eid performed several spirited songs in both Hebrew and Arabic.
  • The acclaimed actress Kathleen Turner was the talented and beautiful "master of ceremonies," and we are so grateful to her for all that she contributed to making the evening a success.
  • Common Ground Awards 1998, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 1999, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2000, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2001, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2002, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2003, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2004, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • European Common Ground Awards 2004, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2005, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.
  • Common Ground Awards 2006, SFCG, accessed July 9, 2007.