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Croatia has its own peace award now

Croatia and Osijek have their own peace award now. It is a symbol of peace – which we fight for, preserve and cherish: it presents our aspirations pursuing the building and establishing of true democracy....Prof.dr. Ladislav Bognar is the first award winner.

Croatia and Osijek have their own peace award now

Julijana Tešija, President of the Management Board of the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights

Award Ceremony speech, 2009

Croatia and Osijek have their own peace award now. It is a symbol of peace – which we fight for, preserve and cherish, it represents our aspirations towards building and establishing a true democracy. Rewarding those ordinary people but great heroes, peace activists and peace-builders is extremely important. Such people are to be regarded as “ordinary” only in the fact that they are - as we all usually are - tired, swamped with work, both happy and sad. In reality they are great heroes: in their daring to take one step further, in their courage to take us up as leaders and partners along “the narrow road” which is ”the one less traveled by” in their altruistic and great humaneness. This difference between “humaneness” and “great humaneness” is what singles out the nominees and the winner of the “Krunoslav Sukić” Award .

Our colleague-philosopher Krunoslav Sukić was also the one who possessed this so human and yet super-human quality. He invested his “knowledge and actions which had been motivated by recognition and respect of dignity, integrity and rights of every human being” in the pursuit of peace and nonviolence.

This Award is presented for a promotion of peace-making, nonviolence and human rights, for an outstanding contribution to the community in the protection and promotion of human rights and liberties, as well as for admirable and consistent efforts in promoting the culture of peace and nonviolence.

Although it is personal, this award is not to be regarded as individual: it suggests what an individual can achieve when he/she is connected, because none of these people did things alone... They have family members behind them, friends, formal and informal groups of like-minded people. Without them, they would not be in a position to fully realize their personal commitments. There is more to it - this award speaks of Croatia. In particular, it speaks of Slavonia and Osijek as places of hope both for today and because this award seeks and supports changes leading to violence prevention, reducing social injustice, and building of democratic society founded on the culture of nonviolence.

For that reason, it is an honor to become a nominee for this award – behind all these nominations there are people who are also admirable, active, courageous and honorable, there are others who are “ordinary” but great who proposed and chose the best among themselves or from the outside – as equals among equals. It is also an honor for a nominee because he/she steps within a circle of selected and proposed person, the circle of the best, the circle of those who are and will be a continuing inspiration for generations to come.

To become one – the selected one – is a responsibility: to continue even harder, with greater strength, courage and persistence. This is what we wished to accomplish with this award: to celebrate and express gratitude to the person who has acted and continues to act for the common good of all, and to encourage general public and brave individuals to continue with their efforts aimed at achieving positive social changes.