For us, peace is the absence of war, but at the same time much more than that. Peace is a basic attitude that reconciles conflicting interests at the most diverse levels in such a way that all ground is removed from the outbreak of violent hostilities.
Humanity’s entry into the nuclear age has necessitated a new way of thinking, a new quality of responsibility on the part of human beings, not only for themselves but for future generations and for the continued existence of the earth on which people can live. We must finally understand the earth as a common living space, whereby conflicts are forced on us by the scarcity of raw materials, the threat to the environment and the economic disparity between the global south and the north.
Securing peace is the highest of values and at the same time a prerequisite for mastering the other challenges as part of our responsibility for the future of humanity. However, the desire for everlasting harmony is an illusion: interests and convictions are too different, not only between individual groups and peoples, but also between people of different ages, sexes and with different shares of property and power.
Nevertheless, only peace can be the form of human coexistence today, even with dissenters, even if they want to change existing norms. Therefore, the culture of dispute and discussion must be learned: not to blur social, political and cultural contrasts, but in the awareness of common responsibility for the existence of our world and environment.
That is why we want to get involved, take responsibility, make those in power aware of our goals, break down entrenched power thinking and support peace-building intentions.
We therefore want to honour and present women, men or groups who have contributed from „below“ to serve the understanding of peoples and people among each other as well as to break down enemy stereotypes and build trust. We want to honour people regardless of ideological, religious or party-political criteria and independent of their social or national affiliation. We want to honour them when they have brought about peace through a sense of justice, humanity, willingness to help (also towards enemies); through non-violence, civil courage, drive, objectivity and engagement.
To this end, 46 individuals endow the Aachen Peace Prize, which is awarded annually on Anti-War Day on 1 September.
Nominations for the Aachen Peace Prize
The Aachen Peace Prize thrives on input and ideas from as many people as possible. Grassroots work from below needs multipliers so that it can be seen and strengthened. The Aachen Peace Prize association therefore cordially invites all interested parties to nominate persons or groups for the award, which is endowed with 2,000 euros.
Who proposes and who decides?
The Aachen Peace Prize is presented by a citizens‘ initiative from the people of Aachen. The winner is therefore not decided by a jury but by the entire Aachen Peace Prize association at a general meeting. Proposals can be submitted by any person or group, regardless of whether they are members of the association or not. A connection to the city of Aachen is also not necessary.
How does a nomination work?
An officially submitted proposal for the Aachen Peace Prize is considered to be a presentation of the nominated person or initiative and their work in two pages of text. Due to the volume of proposals, it is essential that the nominator does some of the research work for the committee in this way. Especially the following questions should be answered:
What is the person or initiative doing for peace?
What is the background or motivation for the engagement?
How many people are active in the group or initiative?
How does the person or initiative finance their work?
Who does the person or initiative work with?
Has the person or initiative already been awarded other prizes?
To what extent does an award of the Aachen Peace Prize help the person or group?
Who is worthy of an award?
The most important criteria for the award-worthiness of a person or group were laid down by the Aachen Peace Prize as early as 1988 in its founding declaration (link). The founding members formulated these criteria at that time as follows: „We therefore want to honour and present women, men or groups who have contributed from „below“ to serve the understanding of peoples and people among each other as well as to break down enemy stereotypes and build trust.
We want to honour people regardless of ideological, religious or party-political criteria and regardless of their social or national affiliation. We want to honour them when they have brought about peace through a sense of justice, humanity, willingness to help (even towards enemies); through non-violence, civil courage, drive, objectivity and engagement. The founding declaration explicitly emphasises that there are numerous causes of discord, from resource conflicts to environmental destruction and climate change, which potential prize winners can oppose. The concept of peace is becoming increasingly broader as global threats grow beyond political blocs and warlike armament.
You can submit nominations using the form at the bottom of this page.
Procedure and dates
So that the general meeting in April does not have to discuss what are often more than 20 proposals each year, the association’s board discusses all the proposals received beforehand and selects the five most worthy of the award. From this list of five, the entire membership then chooses one or two persons or initiatives after extensive debate, who are presented to the media on the 8th of May and awarded the prize in a public, ceremonial act on the 1st of September.
The Board’s deliberations begin as early as autumn, as soon as the respective current prize is awarded at the beginning of September. The deadline for submissions is usually mid-February, so that all proposals can be sufficiently discussed and deadlines can be met before the general meeting in April. These deadlines are dictated by the date of the award announcement, which always takes place on the 8th of May. The 8th of May, as the day of liberation from National Socialism, is just as symbolic as International Anti-War Day on the 1st of September when the annual award ceremony takes place.
Proposals can be submitted at any time. In order for the Board to consider a proposal for the current year, it must be submitted by mid-February at the latest – the exact date varies slightly with the dates of the Board meetings and General Assembly.
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