TOKYO, Feb. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Niwano Peace Foundation will award the 39th Niwano Peace Prize to Father Michael Lapsley, SSM of South Africa in recognition of his relentless struggle against apartheid and other forms of social discrimination as well as various peacebuilding activities in other parts of the world.
An award presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo on June 14. In addition to an award certificate, Father Lapsley will receive a medal and a cash prize of 20 million yen.
Born in 1949 in New Zealand, Father Lapsley was ordained to priesthood in Australia in 1973. His religious conviction led him to work as a chaplain in South Africa at the height of apartheid there. But his involvement in anti-apartheid activities led to his expulsion from South Africa. Since then, he has moved globally, contributing to the healing of South Africans as well as many others all over the world.
In selecting Father Lapsley as a recipient for 2022, the Niwano Peace Prize Committee said he “lost both hands and one eye” due to a letter bomb explosion but he “did not become bitter” and, as one Committee member put it, “Rather he set about working on healing and reconciliation. He saw damage and he has strived to heal it.”
Niwano Peace Prize:
The Niwano Peace Foundation established the Niwano Peace Prize to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace, and to make their achievements known as widely as possible. The Foundation hopes in this way to enhance inter-religious understanding and cooperation and to encourage the emergence of still more persons devoted to working for world peace. The prize is named in honor of the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano.
Niwano Peace Foundation:
The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The Foundation promotes research and other activities based on the spirit of religious principles and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy.