Scottish conflict resolution expert first British woman to win prestigious peace prize

Scilla Elworthy was born in Scotland

A Scottish peace researcher has become the first British woman awarded a prestigious prize for her dedication to conflict resolution around the world.

Dr Scilla Elworthy, who was born in Galashiels, has been named the recipient of The Goi Peace Award, which has previously been won by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

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The Goi Peace Foundation recognised Dr Elworthy's lifetime dedication to conflict resolution,disarmament, and sustainable peace. The Goi Peace Award, initiated by the Goi Peace Foundation in Japan, aims to honour individuals and organisations who have made significant contributions to fostering peace and promoting a sustainable future.

Dr Scilla Elworthy has acted as an advisor to Nelson Mandela.Dr Scilla Elworthy has acted as an advisor to Nelson Mandela.
Dr Scilla Elworthy has acted as an advisor to Nelson Mandela.

"I am deeply moved to receive the Goi Peace Award,” said Dr Elworthy, who has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. “It is an acknowledgement of the collective efforts of countless individuals working towards a world free from violence and conflict, and I share this recognition with all those who tirelessly strive for a more peaceful and just planet."

Dr Elworthy, who was born in 1943, has previously said she was shaken by the violence she witnessed on the news at the age of 13 during the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution, which inspired her to engage in activities to support refugees and war orphans, and to lead a nutrition education organisation in South Africa, among other activities to help the socially vulnerable around the world.

Past recipients of this prize include Dr Robert Muller, assistant secretary-general for the United Nations, Hungarian philosopher Ervin Lazlo, and Indian-American author Deepak Chopra, as well as Mr Gates.

Dr Elworthy is the founder of charity Plan for Peace and Business Plan for Peace, organisations dedicated to promoting new ways of building peace worldwide through engaging all levels of society. Plan for Peace works across the UK to support community leaders and is currently expanding its focus to five other countries to support building sustainable peace.

She also co-founded the Oxford Research Group in 1982, focusing on effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policymakers and their opponents during the Cold War and established Peace Direct in 2002, an organisation that supports local peacebuilders in conflict-affected areas.

She also advised Peter Gabriel‚ Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sir Richard Branson in setting up The Elders – an independent group of global leaders working for peace, justice, human rights and a sustainable planet - while her TED talk on nonviolence has been viewed by over 1‚500‚000 people.

Plan for Peace said: “Throughout her illustrious career, Dr Scilla Elworthy has been a beacon of hope, tirelessly championing the cause of peacebuilding and social change. Her groundbreaking work has inspired countless individuals, communities, and policymakers to seek alternative solutions to conflicts and to prioritise peace as a fundamental human right.”

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The Goi Peace Award is presented at a ceremony during the annual Goi Peace Foundation Forum in Tokyo, where the winner delivers a commemorative address and receives a medal and a diploma together with a monetary prize. This year’s event will be held on 23 Novermber.



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