Washington, DC – At an invitation-only ceremony on October 15, Fuad El-Hibri and Mubarak Awad presented Pietro Ameglio with the 2014 El-Hibri Peace Education Award along with a $20,000 check. Three graduate students also received $5,000 scholarships at the ceremony to further their peace education studies.
Ameglio is an activist and peace educator who is one of the most important teachers and practitioners of active nonviolence in Latin America today. He has co-founded many vehicles promoting peace in Mexico, including the Mexican Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ, 1987), a chapter of the SERPAJ nonviolence network spanning Latin America; Thinking Out Loud (Pensar en Voz Alta, 1995), a Gandhian-inspired nonviolent action collective to analyze and publicize statistical information on the nature of social conflict in Mexico and promote nonviolent direct actions; and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD, 2011), along with poet Javier Sicilia and the families of dead and missing persons. He has authored the book, Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: Mexico Today (2002).
Ameglio has decades of experience exploring the power of nonviolence to promote justice and peace. He strategized with the MPJD to organize numerous mass actions against violent conflict in Mexico, including the “Silent Walk,” a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City that concluded with more than 200,000 people hearing the testimony of survivors and victims whose suffering has largely been ignored. Ameglio worked with others from the MPJD to create the “Caravan of Consolation” and the “Caravan to the South,” which traveled through the areas of México hardest hit by the violence and provided a platform for victims’ families to become active in the struggle for victims’ rights. All of these activities have tapped into what Ameglio refers to as “the moral reserve” of the Mexican people, the positive values and moral sensibilities that characterize Mexican culture
Born in Uruguay but educated in México, Ameglio is an historian with a Master’s degree in Contemporary History. For 18 years he served as Chair of the Humanities Department at La Salle University in Cuernavaca. Combining theoretical knowledge of peace education with practical experience, he has created innovative learning opportunities for students, such as peace camps in Chiapas. Working with SERPAJ and Pensar en Voz Alta, Ameglio has helped develop curricula used by the autonomous education system in Chiapas. He holds two Special Chairs within the School of Philosophy and Literature at National Autonomous University in Mexico City.
Ameglio joins a distinguished cohort of El-Hibri Foundation Peace Education Prize Laureates, including:
Betty A. Reardon (2013), founding director emeritus of the International Institute on Peace Education, and founding academic director of the Global Campaign for Peace Education for the Hague Appeal for Peace;
Chaiwat Satha-Anand (2012), founder and director of the Peace Information Centre at Thammasat University in Bangkok, the Foundation for Democracy and Development Studies and the Thailand Research Fund;
Gene Sharp (2011), founder and senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institution in Boston, MA, and author of many influential works on strategic nonviolent activism;
Colman McCarthy (2010), founder of the Center for Teaching Peace, Washington, D.C., and former Washington Post columnist;
Mary Elizabeth King (2009), professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University for Peace and Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford;
Scott Kennedy (2008), co-founder of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, and former mayor of Santa Cruz, CA; and
Abdul Aziz Said (2007), Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace at American University, and founder and professor at AU’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program.
Judy Barsalou, President of the El-Hibri Foundation, noted with appreciation the large pool of qualified nominations from which Ameglio was chosen by an independent selection committee managed by Nonviolence International. She commented that this year EHF “intentionally expanded the Prize’s eligibility categories to encompass the wide range of leaders who have championed peace education – policymakers, practitioners, community activists and scholars.”
Nonviolence International coordinates the selection committee for the prize