The awards are presented annually to honor outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building and peacebuilding.
The common denominator of the evening was the determination to see the humanity of the other, we were so moved by the film showing the apology by the Australian government to the Aborigine people and the asking of forgiveness for historical crimes, there was also a short film on the Canadian apology. Watching the faces of these wounded people when the apology was read out just brought back to all the power of an apology. I wished we could recognize and acknowledge the pain of the other.
The Common Ground award for compassionate understanding was given to "Beyond the 11th", an organization created by two widows from the 09/11 tragedy. Their goal is to "provide financial assistance for present survival needs and training for future self sufficiency" for Afghan widows, but more than that, they hope to create a connection between Americans and Afghans to remind us that we are not so different from each other.
The New York Philharmonic received the award for cultural diplomacy for their historic concert in North Korea, and Peaceoholics for their work in community peacebuilding. Christopher R.Hill Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia for Diplomacy and the Parents Circle-Families Forum for peacebuilding in the Middle East.
Ali and I were honored to accept the award on behalf of the PCFF, and thank Search For Common Ground for an unforgettable evening.