Every year the IPB awards a special prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Sean MacBride, the distinguished Irish statesman who was Chairman of IPB from 1968-74 and President from 1974-1985. MacBride began his career as a fighter against British colonial rule, studied law and rose to high office in the independent Irish Republic. He was a winner of the Lenin Peace Prize, and also the Nobel Peace Prize (1974) – awarded for his wide-ranging work, which included roles such as co-founder of Amnesty International, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, and UN Commissioner for Namibia. While at IPB he launched the Bradford Proposals on World Disarmament, which laid the ground for the first UN Special Session on Disarmament, held in 1978.
He also launched the MacBride Appeal against Nuclear Weapons, which gathered the names of over 11,000 international lawyers from all parts of the world, many of them at the very highest level. This effort paved the way for the World Court Project on nuclear weapons, in which IPB played a major role. This resulted in the historic 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Use and Threat of Nuclear Weapons.MacBride died in 1988, but the Prize was not established until 1992, IPB's centenary year.
The award is decided by the IPB Steering Committee. IPB members are welcome to make suggestions and provide background documentation on potential candidates.
The Prize is a non-monetary one, consisting of a medal cast by the California-based company From War to Peace: "We recycle copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems to create Peace Bronze, the most precious metal in our world".
IPB wishes to record its deep appreciation of the contribution made by the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who have covered the production costs and made the arrangements for the medal every year since the inception of the Prize.
Links to background material on all the laureates can be found here.
The prize was instituted in 1992, IPB’s centenary year.
2015: The people and the island communities of Lampedusa (Italy) and Jeju Island (South Korea), in recognition of the profound commitment they have demonstrated to peace and social justice.
2014: The people and government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in recognition of the legal case submitted by the RMI to the International Court of Justice, against all 9 states with nuclear weapons, for failure to honour their disarmament commitments.
2012: Lina BEN MHENNI, Tunisian blogger and activist; and Nawal EL-SAADAWI, Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist. Award presented by Irish President Michael D Higgins (1st winner of the Prize) at a ceremony preceding IPB's annual gathering, held inDublin, November 2012.
2009 Betty REARDON, peace educator, USA. Awarded Nov. 2009 at the IPB's annual conference in Washington D.C.
2008 Jackie CABASSO, has been involved in (US) nuclear disarmament, peace and environmental advocacy on local, national and international level for over 25 years, awarded in Copenhagen.
2007 Jayantha DHANAPALA, Sri Lankan Diplomat, awarded at Ceremony in Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
2006 Mayors for Peace Awarded in Helsinki to Tadatoshi AKIBA, Mayor of Hiroshima; and in Nagasaki toIccho ITOH, Mayor Nagasaki (who was subsequently murdered).
2005 No award made
2004 Leaders of the Geneva Initiative on the Middle East.
2003 Nihon HIDANKYO, the Japanese hibakusha or survivors of the A bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They have devoted the rest of their lives to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
2002 Barbara LEE, only member of US Congress to vote against the war on Afghanistan.
2001 Rosalie BERTELL, Canada-based public health advocate, scientist, author – who has put her professional skills at the service of victims of nuclear and other disasters. (Chernobyl, Bhopal etc).
2000 Praful BIDWAI and Achin VANAIK, Indian journalists who have been at the forefront of the international campaign against the nuclearisation of South Asia. The IPB salutes their persistence, commitment and scholarly attention to detail which have earned their work wide acclaim.
1999 Barbara GLADYSCH, Mothers for Peace, Germany, as a tribute to her outstanding and long-lasting commitment, both to disarmament and to practical solidarity with victims of war and disaster.
1998 John HUME, a member of the European Parliament for consistantly advocating non-violent solutions in Northern Ireland. Subsequently awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
1997 The Seeds of Hope Group, UK for disarming a Hawk aircraft bound for Indonesia.
1996 Selim BESLAGIC, Mayor of Tuzla, Bosnia, a key proponent of a multi-ethnic solution to the Bosnian crisis.
1995 The Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, foremost among Russian citizens' groups opposing the war in Chechnya.
1994 Mordechai VANUNU, Israel, a former nuclear technician, sentenced to 18 years solitary confinement for revealing details of Israel's nuclear arsenal.
1993 Hilda LINI, Vanuatu, a former health minister who played a key role in the WHO's decision to approve a request to the World Court on the legal status of nuclear weapons.
1992 Michael D. HIGGINS,Ireland, human rights lawyer, President of Ireland since 11 November 2011.