Medea Benjamin has been awarded the 2012 Peace Prize by The US Peace Memorial Foundation in recognition of “Creative Leadership on the Front Lines of the Antiwar Movement”.
Benjamin was presented the award at a ceremony in New York City on October 28 by US Peace Memorial Foundation Chair Michael D. Knox.
Knox thanked her for “tireless, creative, and inspiring peace leadership and activism” during which she has “demonstrated, written, and spoken about ending wars; called attention to the devastation of U.S. wars; and served as a role model for others.”
I am honored and delighted to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of Americans who try to model the kind of citizen diplomacy we want our government to emulate. While our elected officials continue to fund war and massive military spending, we need to stand up and call for a foreign policy that promotes negotiations, respect and nonviolent solutions.
As Co-Founder of CODEPINK (Women for Peace) Benjamin has organized and mobilized people from around the country and the world to take action where governments have failed us. She’s protested against torture, lead marches and peace delegations to war-torn regions of the world, been arrested and thrown out of countries, confronted politicians, interrupted diplomats and congressional sessions. Whether she’s exposing war profiteers, speaking at libraries and small town fairs, delivering humanitarian aid, or performing skits in front of the White House, Medea Benjamin is determined, courageous, passionate and a tireless advocate for peace and social justice.
In 2012 Benjamin authored Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control as well as organizing the first ever International Drone Summit with lawyers, scientists, academics, and activists kicking off an international campaign to reign in the use of drones. The day after the summit she disrupted Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan at Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington DC as he was speaking about the CIA’s drone program. The video of her disruption has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people and translated into many languages.
She then lead a peace delegation to Pakistan to protest the U.S. drone policy and participated in the historic march to Waziristan which ultimately generated international headlines around the world as well as domestically, covered by over 100 major news outlets.
Benjamin’s activism against drone warfare, including research, writing, speaking and protesting have been crucial in exposing one of the most horrific barbaric invasive deadly policies of our time.
In addition to receiving the 2012 Peace Prize, Medea Benjamin has also been designated as a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. She joins previous Peace Prize recipients Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Many of her actions against war and for peace are documented in the US Peace Registry .
Since 2005, the US Peace Memorial Foundation has directed a nationwide effort to recognize peace leadership by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington DC. These projects help move us toward a culture of peace as we honor the millions of thoughtful and patriotic Americans who have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models in hopes of inspiring other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.