Healing Afghanistan: Afghan Peace Educator Is Awarded the 2015 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize



October 1, 2015

Contact: Stephen McGrath, +1-202-387-9500
Peace Education Prize, El-Hibri Foundation

Washington, DC – September 30, 2015 – The El-Hibri Foundation is delighted to announce that Raz Mohammed Dalili has been awarded the 2015 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize. Mr. Dalili will accept an award of $30,000 for his organization at a private ceremony in late October. Three graduate students will also receive $5,000 scholarships at the ceremony to further their peace education studies.

Raz Dalili is one of Afghanistan’s most recognized peace educators. In a career spanning 25 years covering a multitude of peacebuilding projects, Dalili has championed the use of cultural and religious values and practices for building community, promoting reconciliation, and teaching peace education skills and tools.

From pioneering peace education work in Pakistan’s Afghan refugee community during the Soviet occupation to authoring a comprehensive K-12 peace education curricula for hundreds of schools reaching over 35,000 students throughout Afghanistan, Dalili embodies the personal virtues and professional commitment of a lifelong peace educator and leader. He founded the Sanayee Development Organization (SDO) in 1990 to help further peace education, which he continued to expand under Taliban rule, including rescuing over 3,000 Afghan girls from illiteracy.

Outside of the classroom, Dalili and SDO provide nonviolent conflict resolution training to teachers, community leaders and politicians. To date, SDO has trained more than 50,000 new leaders across age and gender. Dalili helped to redefine the role of the Islamic shura council, long recognized in Afghanistan as a vital resource for resolving conflicts. Dalili’s innovative programs have led to the establishment of more than 600 peace shuras in nine different provinces across Afghanistan.

Dalili has been a longtime advocate for community development and social justice, arguing that “development across [Afghanistan] needs to be equitable, with a focus on education and empowering Afghan youth. Citizens are frustrated by a peace process that is led by power brokers and elites. We must protect and promote human rights, women's rights and the rule of law.” In these efforts, Dalili and SDO have partnered with such organizations as the US Institute of Peace, USAID, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Dalili’s programs seek to encourage a peaceful society by confronting the myriad of roadblocks which exist to such peace. A champion for the rights of ordinary Afghans, Dalili has stated that he is “convinced that peace education is an antibiotic for society,” and has been a vocal advocate for the need to establish mechanisms for civil dialogue that aims to understand and advance community needs and concerns for all Afghans.

Through SDO, he has produced short films and instructive videos dealing with topics ranging from water, land and animal rights to the oft-problematic issue of marriage finance. For children, SDO produces a number of magazines and videos, such as the Deow Wa Pari (Devil and Angel) series. These short movies show children the benefit of acting in a peaceful way and include songs and lively images which make learning fun and inviting.

Dalili is the ninth of a distinguished cohort of El-Hibri Foundation Peace Education Prize Laureates, including:

  • Pietro Ameglio (2014), founder of numerous nonviolence coalitions throughout Mexico, including the Mexican Peace and Justice Service, Thinking Out Loud, and the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. His is also the author of Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: Mexico Today (2002).
  • Betty A. Reardon (2013), founding director emeritus of the International Institute on Peace Education, and founding academic director of the Global Campaign for Peace Education for the Hague Appeal for Peace;
  • Chaiwat Satha-Anand (2012), pioneer in Islam and nonviolence theory and founder and director of the Peace Information Centre at Thammasat University in Bangkok, the Foundation for Democracy and Development Studies and the Thailand Research Fund;
  • Gene Sharp (2011), founder and senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institution in Boston, MA, and author of many globally influential works on strategic nonviolent activism;
  • Colman McCarthy (2010), founder of the Center for Teaching Peace, Washington, D.C., and former Washington Post columnist whose unwavering opposition to militarism and violence of any kind inspired generations of readers;
  • Mary Elizabeth King (2009), professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University for Peace and Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford whose distinguished scholarship on Dr. Martin Luther King and nonviolence have advanced the field of peace education;
  • Scott Kennedy (2008), co-founder of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, and former mayor of Santa Cruz, CA; and
  • Abdul Aziz Said (2007), Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace at American University, and founder and professor at AU’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program and mentor and teacher for hundreds of thousands of students over 58 years of educating at American University.
  • Farhan Latif, President of the El-Hibri Foundation, remarked that Dalili was selected from a large number of impressive peace educators who are making a difference around the world. Chosen by an independent selection committee managed by Nonviolence International, Latif added that EHF was proud to recognize an outstanding peace educator who has dedicated his life to empowering and healing Afghan communities.

To learn more about Raz Dalili and to support his pioneering peacebuilding work in Afghanistan, please visit the Foundations website: www.elhibrifoundation.org.

About the El-Hibri Foundation

Founded in 2001, the El-Hibri Foundation is an American 501(c)(3) charitable foundation based in Washington, D.C. It seeks to build a better world by embracing two universally shared values of Islam—peace and respect for diversity—and it fulfills its mission through grants, programs and other activities designed to advance the field of peace education and promote respect for diversity. EHF and its grantees incubate new ideas, create programs that address unmet needs, and stimulate intellectual exchanges and networking. More information about the Foundation is available at www.elhibrifoundation.org.