Monday, October 26, 2009

CeaseFire to Receive Common Ground Award

From Search for Common Ground:

Search for Common Ground has announced that Chicago-based group CeaseFire will receive a Common Ground Award at a ceremony to be held in Washington DC on October 29th, at the Canadian Embassy. The Common Ground Awards are presented annually to honor outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, diplomacy, community building and peacebuilding.

CeaseFire is an antiviolence initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention. Founded by Gary Slutkin, M.D., and based at the University of Illinois’ in the Chicago School of Public Health, CeaseFire treats gun violence as a public health problem and fights it by trying to change both individual and community behavior.

At the heart of CeaseFire’s work is high-risk conflict mediation through outreach workers and ‘violence interrupters’. These streetwise individuals are familiar with gang life, and use their connections to change the attitudes and behaviors of high-risk youth – helping to quell conflicts before they escalate to violence.

CeaseFire works with community-based organizations, local ministers, and community leaders to organize neighborhood marches, rallies, and vigils after shootings, and focuses on street-level outreach, conflict mediation and changing community norms to decrease violence.

Tio Hardiman, Director of CeaseFire Illinois, will be accepting the Common Ground Award on behalf of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention and CeaseFire.

The other 2009 Common Ground Awardees are:

* Congressman John Lewis and Elwin Wilson, for their inspirational reconciliation
after Wilson’s apology for his civil-rights era violence against Lewis.

* Coach Luma Mufleh and the Fugees Family, a soccer team and support system for
refugee boys

* Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, for his unwavering advocacy of peace between Israel and
Palestine, despite losing his three daughters to the conflict.

* Karen Armstrong, for creating the Charter for Compassion.

* Stand by Me (music video) by Playing for Change, an international musical collaboration.

* Ring the Bells (music video) by Melissa Etheridge and Salman Ahmad & Participant Media, a fusion of western rock and sufi devotional singing that calls for unity and change.

These recipients have made significant contributions to bridging divides between people and finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Former Common Ground Awardees include Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari, former President Jimmy Carter, former Senator George Mitchell, Muhammad Ali, the New York Philharmonic, Sesame Workshop, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Search for Common Ground is a Washington DC based organization that works internationally to help individuals, communities and countries find nonviolent ways to deal with conflict.

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