Pope Francis nominated for Tipperary peace award

US envoy to Northern Ireland Richard Haass also among five nominees

Among the five nominees for the 2013 Tipperary Peace Prize, published today, is Pope Francis. He is already Time magazine Person of the Year, and The Advocate, America's oldest gay rights magazine, chose him as the "single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people".

Other nominees for the prize include US diplomat Richard Haass, currently in Belfast in a bid to resolve legacy issues from the Troubles; Dr Lee Kyu Hyung, who helped found the Taekwondo Peace Corps, which travels the world to promote peace through Taekwondo; and Sr Mary Tarcisa Lokot, who has helped rebuild peace in northern Uganda.

The fifth nominee is the International Peace Bureau, which is dedicated to the vision of a world without war. It is made up of 300 member bodies in 70 countries.

Previous award recipients include former South African president, the late Nelson Mandela, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the late senator Gordon Wilson of Enniskillen, and former US president Bill Clinton.


The 2011 recipients were former president Mary McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese, while the 2012 prize went to Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

A statement today from the Tipperary Peace Convention, announcing the nominees, noted the pope had “throughout his life, both as an individual and as a religious leader . . . been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths”.

It said Mr Haass had already received the US state department's distinguished service award for his work in Northern Ireland.

Dr Lee Kyu Hyung was "widely regarded in his capacity as professor at the Keimyung University and through his long established work as advocate for peace through martial arts".

Sr Mary Tarcisa Lokot was known for “ her willingness to reach out to those who once were responsible for mass killings” in Uganda.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times