The "Serenity Award" will be presented to Mary Lee Morrison, peace educator and author, Wendy Black-Nasta, Director of Artists for World Peace, and Victoria Christgau, Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence on Saturday, April 27 at 5pm at the Friends Meetinghouse, 144 South Quaker Lane in West Hartford. A reception will precede starting at 4:15pm with refreshments and a display of the writings and organizations of the award recipients.
Each woman will speak about her work for peace. Emmett Moberly LaChance, classical guitarist, will perform in honor of Mary Lee Morrison, Muna Swairjo will dance wearing the "International Peace Belt", created by Wendy Black-Nasta, and Victoria Christgau will lead the Lift Every Voice and Sing Community Choir singing songs of peace and freedom. The event is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10 to $20 to benefit Artists for World Peace and the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence.
"We have been so moved by the transformational work these three Connecticut women are doing in the world," says Lynn Johnson, Director of Center for Serenity and MC of the ceremony on April 27. "We want the community to be aware of all Mary Lee, Wendy and Victoria have accomplished for peace."
Mary Lee Morrison received her PhD in educational studies from the University of Connecticut following an earlier career as a clinical social worker. She has been a faculty member of the National Peace Academy and a visiting professor at the Graduate Institute Master's Program in Conflict Transformation, as well as President Emeritus of Pax Educare, Inc., the Connecticut Center for Peace Education. She has authored the 3rd Edition (with Ian Harris) of Peace Education and Elise Boulding: A Life in the Cause of Peace (both by McFarland and Co. Inc.), as well as numerous articles. The Hartford resident frequently teaches and lectures on peace and sustainability for the public, and has implemented peace-learning curricula for educators and youth. Her blog can be found at http://paxeducare.wordpress.com/
Wendy Black-Nasta is a successful international jewelry designer. She was moved to create the "International Peace Belt" of sterling silver draped with coins and gems from 155 countries. At its completion in 2003 the belt traveled to India, was blessed by Amma, led a peace procession of 150,000 people, and Wendy was inspired to found Artists for World Peace, that artists could use their work to benefit humanitarian causes worldwide. The Peace Belt has now traveled to 25 countries in five continents, and www.artistsforworldpeace.org has built a Battered Women's Shelter in Cambodia, a Health Center in Tanzania, distributed 500 pairs of shoes in Brazil, supported and paid for the education of 13 children in China, Haiti, India and Tanzania and numerous other good works, all out of their office in Middletown.
Victoria Christgau is a lifelong Peace/Arts Educator. She is founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN) and a Level lII Certified Kingian Nonviolence Trainer. A resident of Torrington, Victoria founded www.ctnonviolence.org in 2007 at the request of civil rights legend Dr. Bernard LaFayette, who serves as the Honorary Board Chair. CTCN's mission is to empower communities to reconcile conflict through education and the arts. Victoria is currently a teaching artist in the Hartford schools where she presents programs on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Six Principles of Nonviolence. She has conducted numerous trainings for Connecticut citizens in Kingian Nonviolence Reconciliation. Victoria received the Hartford Courant's Tapestry Award for her work building bridges of understanding.
The "Serenity Award" is given to people in our community who inspire us and help create peace and healing in our world. Prior recipients have been Joyce Saltman in 1998, Father Roy Bourgeois is 1999, Rev. Tom Carr in 2000, Alfred E. White Chorale in 2001, Dr. Pat Mulready in 2002, Kate Callahan in 2003, Judi and Lou Friedman in 2004, the Rev. Henry Millan in 2011, and Lynn Goldfarb in 2012.
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