They campaign for refugee children and their families who have had to flee Lebanon, fight tirelessly for reconciliation and peace worldwide and create a place of refuge in Greece for refugees: With the 10th Bremen Peace Award 2021, the schwelle Foundation has placed at the heart of its work the dedication for people within areas affected by war and conflict. Due to the COVID-19 situation, however, the award endowed with prize money of 15000 € will not be presented until Friday 20th May at 6pm in the Bremen Town Hall.
Jacqueline Flory receives the award for the Grass-roots Peace Worker. The translator, author and single mother from Munich started an initiative in 2015 when many people fled from the war-torn areas of Syria to Europe. She helped the refugees both in the neighbouring country of Lebanon and in her home country, Syria. In doing so, she was able to save them from risking the life-threatening journey of escape to the supposedly-safe haven of Europe. This initiative gave rise to “Zeitschule e.V.”, an association that has been building schools for refugee children since 2016. With the aim of supporting the families by enabling the children to go to school rather than having to work, Jaqueline regularly travels to the region, where she actively and pragmatically fights for education and training. Thus, the first schools have already been built in Homs, Syria. Meanwhile, the association "Zeitschule e.V." supports 30 schools and more than 7000 children in Lebanon and Syria between the ages of 5 and 14 years. In addition, more than 25,000 people are provided with the essentials. Jaqueline Flory's commitment attracts increasing attention as the activist gives interviews and presentations in which she encourages others to follow her example by helping comprehensively and sustainably. "For me, the honour in receiving this prize means first and foremost that we, my fellow campaigners and I, have succeeded in diverting attention to those individuals who work as refugees at the grass-roots level every day although war has shaken their very own deepest foundation", says the winner of the peace award. "While I am delighted to have the honour to help them in their fight for education, future and independence, the real honour goes to the refugee women themselves".
The award for the Peace Ambassador in Public Life goes to Clemens Ronnefeld. He is a Catholic theologist who has been campaigning for peace, justice and the integrity of creation since he declined his military service in 1979. His motivation is rooted in his Christian faith. He is advisor for peace-related questions for the German branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. He took part in numerous projects to prepare and accompany conscientious objectors carrying out community service for children in Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia as well as participating in the training of a peace specialist for the Balkans. After this, he was part of various peace delegations. Over the course of time, his newsletter and blog have become an increasingly important source of information for those engaged in peace work. He has chaired peace conferences and become known as a speaker for different target groups in seminars, training events, schools and churches. What distinguishes him is his ability to explain complex connections in a way that makes them understandable and subsequently accessible to the target group. He campaigns for peace-related questions through both print media and television, working together with a large number of experts. His high level of expertise in the field of political analysis is often in demand. "I feel that receiving the Bremen Peace Award shows great appreciation for the work I have done over the past 30 years with the German branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation", says Clemens Ronnefeld. "It gives me an extra boost of energy for my future engagement at a difficult time for peace policy."
LesvosSolidarity receives the Donators' Award for Encouraging Initiatives. In 2012, Efi Latsoudi in cooperation with a small group of local residents and volunteers began to distribute food and essential goods to refugees and other people in need of protection. When the number of refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea continued to rise, they prepared large amounts of warm meals and distributed them at central localities. The deserted area of land around a former summer camp on the outskirts of the capital city Mytilene was set up to cater for up to 120 people in need of protection. Pregnant women, people suffering from chronic illnesses and those with mental health problems, minors and people with disability were able to find refuge there. When a great number of refugees came to the island in 2015, the structures were already in place to take in another 400 people. In 2016, LesvosSolidarity was officially registered as a non-government organisation. Since then, refugees and local residents have been encouraged to become actively involved by learning to help themselves. The principles that underlie the work are openness, transparency and environmental sustainability. Everyone has access to the activities on offer, which are distinguished by cultural diversity and shared artistic creation.
The schwelle Foundation has been awarding the International Peace Prize since 2003. Foundation Chairwoman Anette Klasing emphasizes that all Peace Prize winners are committed to helping people in crisis and war situations, not only by organizing humanitarian aid and education, but also by publicly advocating for human rights and a life in dignity and peace. Patron Karoline Linnert highlights the fact that all award winners have demonstrated great commitment for people caught in situations shaped by crisis and war. Not only do they organise humanitarian aid and education, but they also publicly campaign for human rights and a life in dignity and peace.
The public award ceremony has been postponed until the coming year due to the pandemic.
Friday 20th May, 20022 at 6pm in the Town Hall, Bremen. Am Markt 21, 28195 Bremen.
If you are interested, please feel warmly invited to join the event. Registration is not necessary. Entry is free of charge.