The Washington resident learned of the honor last week from the Quebec-based organization sponsoring the honor.
“For me the most delightful part of it is that it acknowledges the fact that there are so many peacemakers all over the world who don’t get a lot of notice who are nevertheless doing worthwhile work,” she told Catholic News Service.
Dennis was named an awardee in the Global Peace and Reconciliation Internationally Reputed Peacemaker category. She shared the prize in that category with the Rev. Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest from South Africa, who founded the Institute for Healing of Memories to help in reconciliation efforts in the former apartheid-ridden country.
Public Peace Prize laureates are chosen by the public. Individuals can nominate people for consideration and winners are chosen based on letters of support that arrive for each nominee.
“I’m really touched by it especially because of the way that they gather the comments of people from all over the world,” Dennis said.
The Public Peace Prize fosters greater recognition of the work of peacemakers and peace initiatives locally, nationally and internationally. It evolved from the online 24 Hours for Peace in 2013-2014 to celebrate Jan. 1, the World Day of Peace.
Among its partners are L’Arche International, Global Network of Religions for Children, Faith and Light International, International Youth Advocacy Foundation, Pax Christi International, Organization for Peace and Social Cohesion in Ivory Coast and several Quebec-based organizations.
“The goal of it is to be very grass roots, very engaging with people all over the world,” Dennis said. “Not only are there a lot of people doing peacemaking, but we need a lot more.”
Other 2016 recipients include:
— Suzanne Loiselle, a peace and justice activist in Quebec. She is being awarded in the Justice and Solidarity Activist and Peacemaker category.
— Antoinette Layoun of Quebec province, a former child soldier in Lebanon who today teaches people how to achieve inner peace through constructive, loving lives. She is being awarded in the Personal Peacemaker and Social Peacemaker category.
— Narine Dat Sookram, a native of Guyana now living in Canada, has demonstrated how immigrants can provide rich social and economic contributions to society. He is being awarded in the Social Integration and Community Peacemaker category.