Giving Awards to People Who Make Peace by Seeking Common Ground
From voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish For years, Search for Common Ground has honored people who work to settle conflicts. Singers Peter Yarrow and Humayun Khan performed at the group's 2010 awards ceremony. John Marks heads Search for Common Ground. JOHN MARKS: "We think the world should solve its problems peacefully in ways that enhance all the sides involved in conflict and these are people who are real great successes." Rugby in South Africa was long considered a white man's game. But Nelson Mandela used the nation's rugby team to unite the country. Joel Stransky had the winning goal in the 1995 World Cup. JOEL STRANSKY: "The biggest lesson for me is that sport is a wonderful conduit to upliftment, to helping different societies in need, and not only raising money but helping everyone reach a common goal." Jordan's former Queen Nur al-Hussein honored the film producers of Just Vision. They financed "Budrus," a film about Israelis and Palestinians who work together to prevent Israel from dividing a Palestinian village. NUR AL-HUSSEIN: "Thank you, Just Vision, for shining so courageously, harnessing that transformative and healing power by shining a light on the people and communities of our region who are committed to building a more just, compassionate and peaceful future together." Ronit Avni created Just Vision. RONIT AVNI: "Over the years, we have learned how important it is for ordinary people to participate in the process of conflict resolution." The Common Ground Awards also recognized efforts to improve relations among the descendents of former President Thomas Jefferson. He had children with his wife, who was white, and with a black slave. Shay Banks-Young is one of the descendents. SHAY BANKS-YOUNG: "If you would just sit down and listen to the other person, talk, share what you feel, get past the ugliness so you can get on to the grace of who we are." The Awards also honored the Interfaith Youth Corps. Eboo Patel began the effort to develop leaders who seek cooperation among people of different faiths. EBOO PATEL: "We have to make sure that faith is a bridge of cooperation and not a barrier of division." These peacemakers used different tools as a way to settle conflicts. "I am Jewish, I am Christian, I am Muslim, I am Buddhist..." Singing for open-mindedness seemed to be a good way to look for common ground. I'm Jim Tedder.