NAIROBI FEBRUARY 7, 2017(CISA) – Fr Padraig Devine of the Society of African Missions (SMA), has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 Tipperary International Peace Prize.
In a memo issued by the Tipperary Press Association on February 3, 2017, the nomination was inspired by Fr Devine’s innovative peace building work through the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) in Nairobi.
The Shalom team works with communities in northern Kenya affected by generations of violence among pastoralist ethnic groups.
The work is financed by many groups, including the SMA, Misean Cara, Electric Aid and the Apostolic Work groups throughout Ireland.
The centre trains people in conflict transformation, many of them coming from the groups involved in the conflict as well as government officials.
Fr Devine has worked for over 25 years as a missionary in Tanzania and Kenya.
The peace prize was inspired by the Jack Judge song, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, which became the unofficial anthem of the British Army during WWI.
Soldiers marching to the Western Front sang the song and, when war ended on November 11, 1918, a soldier climbed on top of the ruined belfry of Mons, Belgium, and sang the song in jubilation at the thought of returning home alive.
As part of the initiative the Tipperary Peace Convention established the Tipperary Peace Prize.
The Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and last year’s recipient was former US Secretary of State, John Kerry.
Fr Padraig Devine has been nominated along former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness; the Lebanese-British human rights lawyer, Amal Alamudden-Clooney (married to actor George Clooney); Amnesty International; Syrian White Helmets, whose volunteers have saved almost 80,000 lives in the Syrian civil war; and Lady Rabab al Sadr, the Lebanese social and human rights activist and philanthropist.