Peace Abbey Honors Padraig O’Malley with Courage of Conscience Award

Colleen Locke | Wed Dec 19, 2018

Past Recipients Include Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali, Mother Teresa

The Peace Abbey honored UMass Boston’s Padraig O’Malley with the 2018 International Courage of Conscience Award during a special ceremony on Sunday at the Community Church of Boston.

The mission of the Peace Abbey Foundation is to create and install public works of art that promote peace and nonviolence. UMass Boston’s Joseph P. Healey Library hosts its archives.

O’Malley, the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation in the McCormack Graduate School, is an award-winning author and expert on democratic transitions and divided societies. He has played major roles in breaking the gridlock and promoting peace in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East. The award-winning documentary The Peacemaker is about his life.

“From the Good Friday Agreement, which brought about a fragile cease-fire to the sectarian violence that had plagued Northern Ireland to his outreach in South Africa and the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world that is in need of his expertise, Professor O’Malley has tirelessly extended himself in the name of peace, as a global peacemaker,” Peace Abbey Founder Lewis Randa said in his remarks. “Each time Professor O’Malley has reached out to give peace a chance, his hands, the sureness of his grasp, represent the strength of his convictions, the courage of his conscience and the gentleness, the understanding and the compassion that lie at the heart of peacemaking.”

The Peace Abbey has given this award since 1998. Previous award recipients include Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali, and Rosa Parks.

“Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Rosa Parks, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pete Seeger, Muhammad Ali, and Daniel Berrigan is sufficient award,” O’Malley said. “My voice is a whisper compared to theirs, but with this award I commit myself to raising it an octave, to making my voice heard in the public arena, especially when circumstances dictate that caution should prevail. … In these times it is hard to be reckless when the stakes are so high.”

John Joseph Moakley (1927-2001), the namesake of the chair O’Malley holds, received this award posthumously in 2001 for his efforts to bring about peace and reconciliation in Central America. He served as a state representative, a state senator, and a Boston city councilor before going on to fill the congressional seat once held by Speaker John W. McCormack.

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