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Nigel Young receives Dayton peace award

By Rebecca Costello on March 1, 2012
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An exhaustive seven-year project by Nigel Young, who was Cooley Professor of peace studies and director of the Peace Studies Program at Colgate from 1984 to 2004, has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, in the Award for Scholarship category.

The four-volume Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace: Global Conflict, Transformation, and Nonviolent Change (Oxford University Press, 2010) includes 850 entries and a foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Nigel Young with his award. (Photo courtesy of Peter Wine)

Bringing together 50 years of scholarship on peace studies, conflict mediation, and nonviolent alternatives to war, the encyclopedia charts the evolution of the interdisciplinary field and offers a comprehensive survey of the historical, political, theoretical, and philosophical issues relating to peace and conflict.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace, social justice, and global understanding. The Award for Scholarship was created in 2011 specifically to “recognize the scholarship that went into the amazing collection of articles” in Young’s project, according to Sharon Rab, the founder of the prize.

Journalist and author Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney, served as emcee at the award ceremony on November 13. Young was honored along with the other 2011 prize winners, Chang-Rae Lee (The Surrendered) and Wilbert Rideau (In the Place of Justice), and runners-up Maaza Mengiste (Beneath the Lion’s Gaze) and Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns).

“Just like democracy and human rights, peace has to be constructed, not only in minds and hearts, but also institutionally: reliable works of reference are therefore as essential in the digital age as in the age of Johnson or Diderot,” said Young.

“From Wikipedia to the Oxford English Dictionary, we will all continue to use reference works in all formats — and they are essential tools for peacemaking! But the OIEP in print and online is unique in the way it focuses on peace in a new and comprehensive format . . . it is already becoming a key presence for all those who are concerned with reducing destructive conflict and armed violence on our planet.”

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