National Conflict Resolution Center Honors Dr. Anthony Fauci, Announces Nation’s First Center for Civility Studies at 33rd Annual Peacemaker Awards

SAN DIEGO (May 18, 2021) — The National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) presented its 33rd Annual Peacemaker Awards on May 15 as a free, virtual program that raised nearly $740,000 for the center while honoring individuals and organizations dedicated to peacemaking in both their own neighborhoods and around the world. More than 800 people attended the inspiring online event, which spotlighted the importance of civility and social justice in a world filled with conflict—especially after a year of historic uncertainty and unrest.

Honorees included:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Peacemaker Award. Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden and the face of the U.S. government’s response to COVID-19. He has advised seven different presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, on global public health issues from HIV/AIDS to Zika and COVID-19, always putting health before politics and personal gain. He is a skilled communicator whose confidence, credibility and calm demeanor give people a sense of hopefulness, even in challenging times. Dr. Fauci was introduced at the event by Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer and leader of the county’s COVID-19 efforts.

Ekene & Nene Okolo, Local Peacemaker Award: In June 2020, Nene and Ekene started an Instagram account called Black in PUSD, which helped spur an anti-racism movement in the Poway Unified School District (PUSD). As a result, the district worked with Nene, Ekene, leaders of the schools’ Black Student Unions and others to pursue several reforms designed to halt racism. Besides working with the PUSD to implement racial reforms, including curriculum additions and the hiring of more Black staff, Nene and Ekene have created a website, Ethnucation, that includes articles and teaching resources, such as lesson plans, about people of color. Their award was presented by the Superintendent of Poway Unified School District, Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps.

Philanthropy in Peacemaking Awards, introduced by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria:

  • Mark Stuart, President & CEO of the San Diego Foundation;
  • Beth Sirull, President & CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego
  • Christy Wilson, President & CEO of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation, and Rancho Santa Fe Community Foundation have raised nearly $70 million, addressing myriad needs including food security; childcare; computers and internet access; medical support; and workforce training. As the leaders of these foundations, Mark Stuart, Beth Sirull and Christy Wilson took swift action to secure donations and to put the money to use, on behalf of the most vulnerable San Diegans.

Event proceeds will support NCRC’s groundbreaking work to unite people, cultures, and organizations through civility and inclusive communication. These programs include NCRC’s A Path Forward campaign, which was started as a response to the tragic shooting at Chabad of Poway and addresses intolerance in our world today.

During the event, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla announced the launch of the nation’s first-ever center for research on civility. The Applied Research Center for Civility (Center for Civility) at UC San Diego, which officially opened on May 1, 2021, draws from NCRC’s groundbreaking work in this area to conduct cutting-edge research into the dynamics of society’s most pressing issues, including racial injustice and mass incarceration, workplace harassment, and freedom of expression on college campuses.

“Good conflict can create great solutions,” said Steven Dinkin, president of the National Conflict Resolution Center. “This uncertain, tumultuous year has exposed inequities in our society and further highlighted the polarization in our country. However, I am inspired by the work of all of our honorees to create a world where healthy, collaborative dialogue is possible. My hope is that the Center for Civility can build on the work they and many others are doing nationwide, and put forward actionable solutions for overcoming entrenched divides in our country.

“I would like to thank our honorees, partners and sponsors for helping us host a truly groundbreaking event in a historic year, and look forward to the work to come.”

The evening, which was emceed by San Diego philanthropist Lori Walton, also featured live entertainment by jazz legend Charles McPherson.

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