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17/10/2021

Nominations sought for Tipperary International Peace Award

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson signing the visitors book

Introduced in 1983 by a select committee of Tipperary Peace Convention, the Peace Award has achieved national and international recognition, standing closely behind the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of the greatest innovations by any committee in Tipperary has to be the induction of peace makers as recipients of the Tipperary International Peace Award.

Introduced in 1983 by a select committee of Tipperary Peace Convention, the Peace Award has achieved national and international recognition, standing closely behind the Nobel Peace Prize.


The 2018 recipient, former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, said the award was a "wonderful example of a local community organising a prize for peace which has achieved wide standing and international recognition."


Right from the very beginning the committee of Tipperary Peace Convention set a very high standard with the first recipient being the late Seán MacBride. MacBride received the 1984 award in recognition of his work for human rights worldwide. Rising from a domestic Irish political career, he founded or participated in many international organisations of the 20th century including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and Amnesty International and was regarded as a man who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice".


The selection of MacBride was a very important statement of intent by the committee to recognise those who would fight against injustice and would be champions of the fight for peace, reconciliation, freedom and democracy worldwide. In the years since the award was instituted it has been presented on 31 occasions. The list includes world leaders, campaigners, activists, humanitarians, negotiators and brokers, all with the ideal of promoting peace and reconciliation and with endeavouring the make the world a more safer and peaceful place for all of mankind.


From meeting many of the recipients it is obvious that the award means a great deal to everyone that receives it. Those who travel from overseas as recipients always recount the name of the song "It's a long way to Tipperary" on arrival, as evidence of their journey and of the popularity of the song and the name 'Tipperary'. Throughout the years the committee has endeavoured to ensure that the recipients travel in person to receive the award in Tipperary. This requirement by the committee ensures that the award receives the recognition that it deserves and that there is the opportunity to showcase Tipperary on a national and world stage.

It is remarkable that a small voluntary committee should be capable of this and this is recognised by President Michael D Higgins when he paid tribute to Tipperary Peace Convention in 2019. "Tipperary Peace Convention has been engaged in an admirable programme of work, in promotion and celebration of peace, not only in words, but also through music, song, and creativity. This approach has meant that the Peace Award is held in high regard, both at home in Ireland and at international level, and by consequence, its bestowal confers a considerable honour on the recipient" said President Higgins.


I spoke recently to one of the recipients to ask of her memories of receiving the award in Tipperary. Dr. Sima Samar is an Afghan woman's and human rights advocate. She was appointed as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement in December 2019. She is the Special Envoy of the Afghanistan President and State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs and also serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation.

She received the 2010 Tipperary International Peace Award and it was presented to her in Tipperary in June 2011. "Receiving the Tipperary International Peace Award was a recognition of my work and suffering under a very difficult political situation in Afghanistan and a recognition of a woman in a very conservative, religious environment. As you know in conflict countries the ones who hold the gun are recognized above the ones who do peace building work at grass-roots level and non violent ways.

Visiting your beautiful country was very interesting for me to see how people were able to end the conflict in Ireland and to learn from the experience of peace building and particularly how those involved dealt with the issue of justice. I was very much under security threat so being awarded the Peace Prize gave me international recognition which improved my security.

When I am too depressed I try to think about those good moments and days including my trip to your country and to Tipperary. The peaceful environment, the clean weather and the greenery was unforgettable" said Dr. Samar. In recalling Dr. Samar's visit to Tipperary it is important to recognise that she travelled under great personal risk and at her own expense to receive the award. Those that were in attendance will recall the stories of the atrocities taking place on a regular basis in Afghanistan and her visit to Tipperary gave her a very welcome respite from the violence and terrorist attacks being perpetuated there.


Because of the situation with Covid it has not been possible to have any award presentation in 2020. The last recipient was former President Mary Robinson, who received the 2018 award in November 2019. With hopefully restrictions easing later this year it should be possible to have an award presentation sometime in 2021. Therefore Tipperary Peace Convention is now seeking nominations for the 2019/2020 Award.


Nominations can be submitted by E-Mail to: martinquinns@eircom.net or alternatively by post to the Hon. Secretary, Tipperary Peace Convention, 18 Father Matthew Street, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary. The aim of the Tipperary Peace Award is to recognise those who work tirelessly in countries around the world to end conflict and war, to facilitate reconciliation and peace making efforts, to provide humanitarian support and to campaign for justice and equality.


If you think that you know of someone who should be nominated then please do so today and include a brief resume to include the reason why you consider the person/s should receive the Award.

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