Foundation, which builds and funds music schools and programs throughout the world, especially in poor areas of Ghana, Nepal, Mali, South Africa, and Rwanda .
In between Megan's masterful acoustic set and Robert's powerful electric one, I had the great honor and excitement of presenting the Ojai Peace Coalition's sixth annual Noble Peace Prize, accompanied by my dear friend and last year's honoree, Doctor Kristofer Young.
The Noble Peace Prize was developed in 2007 to recognize and honor local people doing extraordinary though sometimes everyday things to bring greater health and peace to our community and the larger world. The underlying philosophy has always been that the elements which make up culture are not mysterious or magical, but specific and relatively easy to define. One of these elements is what a particular society considers is heroes and legends, either real or imagined. If we want to build a culture of peace, and we do, then we must have s/heroes and legends that support that vision. The Noble Peace Prize aims to elevate momentarily local s/heroes for peace in an effort to change culture. It also affords us the opportunity each year to think more concretely about what peace means, how it is defined, and allows us to recognize it where it already exists. It encourages us to broaden our personal and collective definitions of what peace means. Finally, building community around the presentation of the award, as well as the ever growing group of nominees and honorees, also furthers our goal and vision of a peaceful world, because when communities are connected and healthy, peace flourishes.
The process for selecting a Noble Peace Prize honoree evolves and improves each year. It begins with an open nomination period, which is conducted primarily online, supported this year by a brand new website: NoblePeacePrizeOjai.org. After the nomination period has ended we move into public online voting, also hosted at the award website. The award is always given as close to September 21st as possible, because that is the fixed calendar date of the International Day of Peace. Once the votes have been tallied, the honoree and other nominees are notified and preparations begin for an award ceremony. This year, when I became aware of the Playing For Change concert, I contacted the organizers during the nomination period to see if there was any flexibility in their event to allow me to present the Noble Peace Prize from it. They and I were delighted to discover that that would in fact be possible, and so preparations commenced.
As the votes came in, it soon became clear just how serendipitous this would all be:
our 2012 Noble Peace Prize Honorees:
Shelby Luce & Ellie Hancock
of Thacher Plays for CHange!
If you're still wondering just what Playing For Change is and does, here's the video that started it all...the one that inspired Shelby and Ellie to get involved: Stand By Me.