The end of the cold war was celebrated in many circles to have effectively removed ideological barriers. However, that celebration was short-lived as the last three decades have so far witnessed a dramatic increase in a number of civil strife, extremism, and other forms of violence around the World. Nigeria for example, was not left out of these civil unrests having witnessed and still witnessing ethno-Religious and intra-State conflicts of devastating proportions. More alarming is the prolonged years of military rule and civil war. The proliferation of light weapons have made the younger generation more susceptible to the culture of violence, thuggery and banditry.
As a departure from this ugly scenario, what the global community needs today in order to develop and build ideal democratic culture is the gradual inculcation of the culture of peace and the practice of non-violence amongst the people from all races and creeds. Peace and harmony are achievable by imparting the ethics and spirit of peace building, mediation, conflict resolution, conflict management and confidence building. This can, however, be achieved with the re-orientation and commissioning of men and women of repute as experts who specialise in peace advocacy and conflict resolution.
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), in its commitment to National Creativity, Peace and Youth Development, was founded in 1998 in Kaduna by Dr Dickson A.O Akoh, FCITr, FCPA. In line with Article 5.1 (i), page 2 of the Constitution of the PCN, the cardinal aim of the organisation is the promotion of peaceful co-existence and peace initiatives at both national and international levels. Part of the objectives of the PCN is to recognize and honour men and women of proven integrity who have made special contributions in the areas of peace, conflict resolution and reconciliation as well as those whose actions have contributed immensely toward the unity and stability of Nigeria and the World at large.
It is therefore, in pursuance of the aforementioned mandate of the PCN and its burning desire towards consolidating and reinforcing Peace Initiative, Peace Building, Conflict Intervention, Mediation, Reconciliation and Humanitarian Services in Nigeria, that the PCN instituted the Awards of Senior Advocate of Peace, International Peace Medal and International Special Peace Envoy to recognize and celebrate the efforts of those who have worked to end the conflicts of any kind and promote the culture of Peace. These Awards, which have been registered with the Nigerian National Copyright Commission as the intellectual property of PCN, are to be conferred on eminent personalities with a view to encouraging and empowering them to handle issues of diversity and critical strategies that reinforce negotiations, critical thinking, Peace Building and Conflict Resolutions and International Diplomacy.
Over the years, the Corps has articulated and archived the biographical details of prominent individuals from across the globe who have contributed significantly to peace, good governance and in their individual fields of expertise, be it Education, Science, Engineering, Business, Health or other human endeavours. Any of the above mentioned Awards therefore stands as a testament to the efforts made by such individuals towards Youth Empowerment, Peace and Security, Social Justice, Democratic values, Commitment to Humanitarian Services, Inter-religious Peace-building activities and good governance as instrument for sustainable Development.
In view of the aforementioned, PCN, in its commitment to Creativity, Peace and Youth Development as well as the burning desire towards consolidating and reinforcing Peace Initiative, Peace - building, Conflict Intervention, Mediation, Reconciliation and Humanitarian Services in Nigeria and the world at large, it instituted the Awards of Senior Advocate of Peace (SAP), International Peace Medal (IPM) and International Special Peace Envoy (ISPE). Through these Peace Awards, PCN intends to recognize and celebrate the efforts of those who have worked tirelessly to end conflicts of any kind and promote the culture of Peace.
However, people must realize that without peace there can be no harmony, and without harmony there can not be progress, growth and sustainable development. It is therefore absolutely important for every well-meaning organization, corporate body and right thinking citizen of any nation to embrace peace, so that the world will be a better place to live in.
The Peace Awards, introduced by PCN in 2013, was formally inaugurated on Friday 23rd May, 2013 at United Nations Plaza, New York City, USA, during which some eminent personalities were conferred with the Maiden Awards. This year’s event thus marks the Second Edition of the Annual Peace Awards.