Press release: 2022 MacBride Peace Prize recipients

About the Sean MacBride Peace Prize

Every year the International Peace Bureau (IPB) awards a special prize to a person or organization that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Séan 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 Nobel Peace Prize 1974.

The Prize is a non-monetary one.

This year the IPB Board has chosen the following three winners of the prize:

Alfredo Lubang (Non-Violence International Southeast Asia)

Asya Maruket & Yurii Sheliazhenko

Hiroshi Takakusaki

Alfredo ‘Fred’ Lubang – as part of Non-Violence International Southeast Asia (NISEA), a Philippines based non-governmental organization working towards peacebuilding, disarmament and non-violence as well as regional peace processes. He holds a Master degree in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies and served on various boards of global disarmament campaigns. As the Regional Representative of NISEA and National Coordinator of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), Fred Lubang is a recognized expert on humanitarian disarmament, peace education and decolonialization of humanitarian engagement for almost three decades. His organization NISEA served on the board of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Control Arms Campaign, a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons and Stop Killer Robots Campaign as well as a co-convener of the Stop Bombing campaign. Without Fred Lubang’s unflagging work and commitment – especially in the face of ongoing wars – the Philippines would not be the only country that has ratified nearly all humanitarian disarmament treaties today.

Asya Maruket & Yurii Sheliazhenko – two activists from Russia and Ukraine, whose common goal of a peaceful world seems more important today than ever before. Asya is an experienced psychologist and peace builder from Russia, who since 2011 has been active in the fields of human rights, democratic values, peace and non-violence communication aiming at a more peaceful country through cooperation and cultural exchange. She holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology and Philology and is presently working as Coordinator/Project Manager in several women’s empowerment projects. In line with her voluntary positions, Asya has been constantly working towards a safer country for women and other vulnerable society groups. Yurii Sheliazhenko is a male activist from Ukraine, who has worked towards peace, disarmament and human rights for many years and is currently serving as the Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement. He is a member of the Board of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection as well as World BEYOND War and a lecturer and research associate at the Faculty of Law and KROK University in Kyiv. Beyond that, Yurii Sheliazhenko is a journalist and blogger persistently defending human rights. Both Asya Maruket and Yurii Sheliazhenko have raised their voices for peace – showing us what commitment and bravery looks like. 

Hiroshi Takakusaki – for his lifelong dedication to a just peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons and social justice. Hiroshi Takakusaki started his career by serving as a student and international youth movement leader and soon became involved in the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo). Working in several positions for Gensuikyo, he provided the vision, strategic thinking and dedication that fuelled Japan’s nationwide nuclear abolition movement, the international campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and Gensuikyo’s yearly World Conference. Regarding the latter, he played a leading role in bringing high-ranking United Nations officials, ambassadors and leading figures from the field of disarmament to participate in the conference. Apart from this, Hiroshi Takakusaki’s care and unstinting support for the Hibakusha as well as his ability to build unity within the social movement demonstrate his subtlety and leadership qualities. After four decades in service to the disarmament and social movements, he is presently the Representative Director of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.

Please find the PDF version of the press release here.

Elayne Whyte receives the Sean MacBride Award: United Nations, New York.

On 4 August 2022, The International Peace Bureau awarded the 2019 Sean MacBride Peace Prize to Elayne Whyte Gomez at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Despite winning the award in 2019, the current global health emergency – Covid-19 made it very challenging to award Elayne this deserving Prize at the time. The time however, is always right to do the right thing. Three years later, we are still happy to honor Elayne Whyte for her distinctive achievement and contribution to a nuclear free world.

Elayne was elected President of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination On 16 February 2017 . Her leadership at the UN conferences negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons from March to July 2017 was a background of the success of the Treaty. The negotiations were brought to a successful conclusion in July 2017 and opened for signatures in September 2017 at the United Nations Headquaters in New York. The treaty currently has 86 signatories and 66 state parties.

During her acceptance speech, Elayne described her experience at the TPNW conference as “a transformational experience” which taught her about “human resolve and conviction… just as much as the difficult legal procedural matters in negotiations and intercultural affairs”. She then concluded by challenging everyone to ask themselves what would become of the world in the year 2045 (the 100 anniversary of the start of nuclear era). “What would that day look like?” She asked. “Would we have survived as humanity? Would we continue being lucky that no new nuclear explosion has happened? Would we have used our human agency to control the technology we create and not to perish by it? Alexander Kmentt, Director of Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation also highlighted the state parties’ determination to fight “until the last warhead has been dismantled and destroyed”

The Keynote speakers were Reiner Braun – Executive Director of International Peace Bureau, Thomas Markram – Director and Deputy to the High Representative, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Alicia Zakre-Sanders – Policy and Research Coordinator, ICAN, Kunihiko Sakuma – Chair of Hiroshima Hidankyo, Alexander Kmentt – Director of Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation, Austrian Foreign Ministry and Joseph Gerson – President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, and Vice President of International Peace Bureau.

Watch the award ceremony here:

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