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Pacem in Terris Award

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The Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award is a Catholic peace award which has been given annually since 1964, in commemoration of the 1963 encyclical letter Pacem in terris (Peace on Earth) of Pope John XXIII. It is awarded "to honor a person for their achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world",[1] and has been granted to people of many different creeds.

The award was begun in 1963 by the Davenport Catholic Interracial Council[2] of the Diocese of Davenport in the U.S. state of Iowa. Since 1976, the award has been presented each year by the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf in southeastern Iowa, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in northwestern Illinois) Pacem in Terris Coalition. In 2010, sponsors of the award were the Diocese of Davenport, St. Ambrose University, Augustana College, Churches United of the Quad-Cities, Pax Christi, The Catholic Messenger, the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, the Sisters of St. Benedict, the Muslim Community of the Quad Cities, and the Sisters of St. Francis.[3]

Six recipients have also received a Nobel Peace Prize. Two recipients are Servants of God, meaning that they are being reviewed by the Catholic Church for possible canonization as a saint, while a third, Mother Teresa, has been canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

Award winners

Year Image Recipient Nationality or Base Country Citation
1964 John Howard Griffin[1]
 United States for his "powerful book, Black Like Me, which has showed us how we are too often judged not by the content of our character but by the color of our skin."
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John F. Kennedy
(b. 1917–1963)
 United States for having "awakened in us a hope that no problem was too great to conquer — race relations, violence or poverty — when citizens work together" (posthumously awarded)
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Martin Luther King Jr.
 United States for having "challenged us to dream of a world transformed through nonviolent civil rights activism."
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Sargent Shriver
 United States for having "taught us that one person can indeed make a difference."
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A. Philip Randolph
 United States for his "efforts to organize railway employees convinced us that the dignity of work must be rewarded with a just wage."
1968 James Groppi
 United States for "waking people to the injustice of unfair housing and racial prejudice in Milwaukee."
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Saul Alinsky
 United States for having "taught people how to organize and to act together in promoting justice in society."
1970 Not awarded
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Dorothy Day
 United States for having "founded the Catholic Worker Movement and reminded us to look for Christ in the faces of the poor."
1973 Not awarded
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Harold Hughes
 United States for having "brought the message of the Gospel to the cause of equal education, civil rights and opposition to capital punishment."
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Hélder Câmara
 Brazil as "gentle shepherd of the poor of northwestern Brazil, who embraced the impoverished and gave sharp prophecy to the wealthy."
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Mother Teresa, M.C.
who "gave hope to the desperate and offered light to those living in abject poverty."
1977 Not awarded
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Thomas Gumbleton
(b. 1930)
 United States for having "challenged church leadership to embrace nonviolence instead of the just war theory."
1980 Crystal Lee Sutton
 United States for having "organized labor in the South and reminded us that equal work demands equal pay."
Ernest Leo Unterkoefler
 United States for having "advocated for the rights of workers and helped to buoy the labor movement among the poor in Appalachia."
1981 Not awarded
George F. Kennan
 United States for having "realized that the only hope for solving the world's problems lies in abandoning violence."
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Helen Caldicott
(b. 1938)
 United States for having " spoken on behalf of the world's children in the face of possible nuclear holocaust."
1984 Not awarded
1985 Joseph Bernardin
 United States "through his notion of the consistent ethic of life and the seamless garment taught us that all life is God-given and therefore precious."
1986 Maurice John Dingman
 United States "through his love for the land worked for peace and justice and reminded all of us of our roots in the soil."
Desmond Tutu
 South Africa for having "helped free South Africa from the yoke of apartheid, teaching the entire world that racial injustice is sacrilege."
1988 Not awarded
1989 Eileen Egan
 United States "through her work with Pax Christi and Catholic Relief Services addressed the world's problems through missionary zeal and creative nonviolence."
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Mairead Maguire
(b. 1944)
 United Kingdom
for having "become a global force against violence in the name of religion."
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María Julia Hernández
 El Salvador for having "directed the Human Rights Committee and spoke for the victims of the long civil war in El Salvador."
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Cesar Chavez
 United States for having "become a passionate voice for workers who have long been disenfranchised."
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Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
 United States for having "offered powerful witness on behalf of peace and justice."
1994 Not awarded
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Jim Wallis
(b. 1948)
 United States for having " brought people of faith to espouse radical social engagement."
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Samuel Ruiz
 Mexico for having "lent great courage to his fight against violence and injustice inflicted against the poor and oppressed of Chiapas, Mexico."
1997 James W. Douglass
(b. 1937)
 United States for having "been steadfast in their efforts to build a world of peace based on justice."
Shelley Douglass
(b. 1940)
1998 Helen Prejean, C.S.J.
(b. 1939)
 United States "through her loving presence on death row has fostered reconciliation and spiritual healing."
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, premio Nobel de la Paz en 1980, Visitó al Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Fernando Cordero. (5076794488).jpg
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
(b. 1931)
 Argentina for having "inspired the world with his Gospel-rooted work on behalf of Argentina's 'disappeared ones.'"
2000 George G. Higgins
 United States for having "wove together communities of faith and organized labor to support economic justice."
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Lech Wałęsa
(b. 1943)
 Poland for having "become a global leader for freedom and democracy."
2002 Gwen Hennessey, O.S.F.
(b. 1932)
 United States for having "devoted their lives and ministry to local activism on global issues of peace and justice."
Dorothy Hennessey, O.S.F.
2003 Not awarded
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Arthur Simon
(b. 1930)
 United States for having "shown how one person can make a difference alleviating world hunger."
2005 Donald Mosley
(b. 1939)
 United States for having "served others by offering hospitality to refugees, housing for the homeless and mediation to situations of war."
2006 Not awarded
2007 Salim Ghazal
 Lebanon for having "worked with Muslims and Christians to promote reconciliation, peace and hope for young people and others displaced by Lebanon's civil war."
2008 Marvin Mottet
 United States for having "devoted his life to walking the two feet of social action: direct service and social justice."
2009 Hildegard Goss-Mayr
(b. 1930)
 Austria "one of the world's leading experts on nonviolence, a teacher, visionary and pioneer who helped forge a new path toward peace on earth for all humanity."
2010 John Dear
(b. 1959)
 United States for having "delivered the message of the nonviolent Jesus in word and deed in confronting nuclear arms manufacturing and use."
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Álvaro Leonel Ramazzini Imeri
(b. 1947)
 Guatemala "for his continuing efforts on behalf of Guatemala's most vulnerable communities, the indigenous people of Guatemala."
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Kim Bobo
(b. 1954)
 United States for having "educated a nation about the prevalence of wage theft and injustice that disproportionately affects the poor amongst us."
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Jean Vanier
 Canada for having "founded L’Arche, an international, faith-based federation of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together."
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Simone Campbell, S.S.S.
(b. 1945)
 United States for having "organized the "Nuns on the Bus" Campaing in 2012 that reveted the nation's attention. She is the driving force for programs and policies that support faith, families and fairness."
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Thích Nhất Hạnh[4]
 Vietnam "honored for his lifelong commitment to peace and for his inspired, dedicated work to bridge Eastern and Western spiritual traditions."
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Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P.
(b. 1928)
 Peru "recognized as a prominent figure in Latin American Catholicism with his book A Theology on Liberation led many to view him as the founder of lieberation theology."
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Widad Akrawi
(b. 1969)
 Iraq for having "cofounded the human rights organization, Defend International."
2018 Not awarded
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Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
(b. 1935)
 Tibet for having "workded tirelessly for peace and justice and advocates for human dignity for all in Asia."
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Munib Younan
(b. 1950)
 Palestine for having "committed to cultivating peace by building bridges among religions."
2020 Not awarded due to COVID-19 pandemic
2022 Norma Pimentel, M.J.[5]
(b. 1953)
 United States "for her dedication to serving asylum seekers as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Brownsville Diocese in Texas."


  1. ^ a b "Pacem in Terris Past Recipients". Diocese of Davenport. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "Pacem in Terris". Diocese of Davenport. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  3. ^ The Catholic Newspaper of the Diocese of Davenport
  4. ^ "Thich Nhat Hanh named Pacem in Terris winner". The Catholic Messenger. Davenport, Iowa. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "Serving with compassion on the border: Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, will receive peace award". The Catholic Messenger. Davenport, Iowa. March 17, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
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Pacem in Terris Award
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