World Vision Peace Prize

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Click here for a description of nominee Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees's peacebuilding work.

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Professor Stuart Rees is  a worthy nominee for this Peace Prize. He founded the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University and was responsible for setting up the Annual Sydney Peace Prize. His peace building efforts can be seen not only here in Australia but indeed across the world stage. Wherever there is conflict and people in strife he does his utmost to tell their story. He does this not just in one part of the world but wherever there is a human rights injustice. Professor Stuart Rees is a true advocate for peace with justice.

Success in engaging the imagination of an affluent community to the plight of the disempowered or unpopular, takes a strong and determined personality. We are all too busy leading comfortable lives. Emeritus Professor Rees moves mountains, operating locally, nationally and internationally.. with children in schools, young people in universities, business leaders in Boardrooms, and with the broader community by making a sustained contribution to public discourse through the media, by drawing thousands of people to Town Halls, the Opera House and other venues, providing opportunities for the public to become better informed so they can become part of the wave of humanity demanding an end to violence in all its forms, respect for the human rights of all people, justice and peace. He was instrumental in awarding the inaugural Sydney Peace Prize (Australia’s only international Prize for Peace, which he established ) to Muhammad Yunus for his work empowering the poor, predominantly women, long before Yunus was discovered by the Nobel committee, catapulting Yunus & his microfinance initiative to the world stage. Fifteen year later, he has just announced this year’s recipient is a woman determined to change the culture of violence in her country, Zimbabwe – Sekai Holland. The evidence he gave to the National Human Rights Consultation in this country was inspirational. He engaging, tireless & funny. I hope his lifelong work will be acknowledged with this award.  


I support the nomination of Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, AM for this year’s World Vision International’s Peacemaking Prize.

Stuart Rees is an eminently qualified candidate for this award, having dedicated much of his life to teaching, practicing and lecturing on conflict resolution and peace with justice.

He was the founder of the Sydney Peace Foundation in 1998 and had established the Sydney Peace Prize, the only Australian International Peace Prize.

He established the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney some 25 years ago and led its teaching and research for many years...

In 1998 he launched the Sydney Peace Foundation and the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s only international prize for peace. He became its first Director (a voluntary position) and remained in that post until his retirement this year. He is now Chairman of the Foundation.

Stuart Rees exemplifies peace building and conflict resolution through his life and work — in his relations with colleagues, in his willingness to give his time to community groups, as an indefatigable public speaker, a teacher, a networker across different social groups and countries, and as the founder and leader of the Sydney Peace Foundation.

 Stuart Rees was (1978-2000) Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. He has worked in community development, probation services and social work in Britain, in Canada, in the War on Poverty programs in the USA and with Save the Children in India and Sri Lanka. He has taught at leading universities in the UK (Aberdeen and Southampton), in Canada (Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier), and in the USA (University of California at Berkeley, University of Texas at Austin).

Stuart Rees founded the Sydney Peace Foundation to promote public discussion about peace with justice and so influence public interest. It is a not-for-profit organisation at the University of Sydney and is supported by the City of Sydney. The Foundation’s priorities are to promote universal human rights and peace with justice in any context, locally and internationally.

In 2011, SPF events attracted audiences of at least 6,000 in Sydney and events were covered by all major news outlets. In addition, the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize recipient addressed audiences of 5,000 in Melbourne of 5,000 and 2,500 in Adelaide.

Sydney Peace Prize recipients are selected by an independent jury. However, there can be no doubt that the range of concerns addressed by recipients reflects the depth and breadth of Professor Rees’ understanding of peace with justice.

The following list of recipients and their award citations provides clear evidence of this.

Professor Muhammed Yunus (1998), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Xanana Gusmão, Sir William Deane, Mary Robinson, Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Arundhati Roy, Olara Otunnu, Irene Khan, Hans Blix,  Patrick Dodson, John Pilger, Dr Vandana Shiva, Professor Noam Chomsky, and Senator Sekai Holland (2012).

In keeping with its mission to recognise and encourage expertise in the promotion of peace with justice, the Sydney Peace Foundation established the Youth Peace Initiative (YPI) as a means both to encourage and also to learn from young Australian people who speak out on issues relating to peace and social justice. The Youth Peace Initiative brings together high school youth from diverse backgrounds and locations, from both public and private schools.

Professor Rees' publications include over 100 journal articles and he is the author and co-author of ten books, including A Brutal Game (1986), Achieving Power (1991), Beyond the Market (1993), The Human Costs of Managerialism (1995), and Human Rights, Corporate Responsibility (2000).

Across countries and cultures over the centuries, the most powerful pleas for peace and the most significant protests against violence have come through poets. Stuart Rees has continued this tradition, publishing two anthologies of poetry – The Jury’s Return (1992) and Tell Me the Truth About War (2004).

For years he ran a post-graduate unit titled “Passion, Peace and Poetry” at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, in which he integrated poetry with a study of the great non-violence leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Similar use of poetry to illustrate the theme of peace with justice runs through his book Passion for Peace: Exercising Power Creatively (2003).

Stuart Rees has practised conflict resolution within organisations and has been involved in peace negotiations in Cambodia, Israel/Palestine and in relations between Indonesia and West-Papua.

He is a regular broadcaster on Australia's ABC Radio about the "means and meaning of peace with justice".

For six years he was a member of the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council of New South Wales. He was instrumental in creating an Aboriginal Night Patrol against violence in the suburb of Redfern, to maintain peace and to make it safer for the people who live there.

In 2005 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to international relations.

Stuart Rees is highly regarded and respected in our community and internationally. He is a person whose views are valued and who is admired for his outstanding integrity, his principles and his personal warmth and charm.

He is not just a talker; he is also a “doer”, prepared to join diverse activities, large and small, in his ceaseless pursuit of human rights and peace with justice. He advocates and lives in his own life an empowering combination of theory and practice.

Stuart Rees has unfailing moral courage. He is always prepared to stand up for what he believes and to advocate for the powerless against the interests of powerful individuals and governments. He faced down death threats following the selection of Dr Hanan Ashrawi for the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize.

He has supported and inspired very many campaigns, including the rights of the Palestinian people, the East Timorese and West Papuans, efforts to eliminate violence towards women, and justice for indigenous Australians.

Stuart Rees has had a lifetime commitment to human rights, has been and is an inspiring advocate for peace with justice, and has an open, all-embracing heart for all those committed to peace and social justice.

Prof Stuart Rees has given out so many Peace Prizes ... it's about time Prof Rees get's one himself!

Prof Rees has dedicated his life to Peace with Justice. He has broken through misconceptions about peace, violence, and conflict, and with charisma, joy and courage he stands up for what he sees as right, while encouraging others to do the same.

Prof Rees has brought the likes of Mohammed Yunus, Mary Robinson, Hanan Ashrawri, Vandana Shiva and Noam Chomsky to Sydney to share stories of their experiences in the effort of non-violent conflict resolution, and addressing structural violence like poverty and environmental destruction.

Doing a Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies was one of the best things I've ever done, and I have Prof Rees to thank for that opportunity. There, at The University of Sydney, I learned of creative and non-violent responses to conflict, which I have proceeded to share with others - the butterfly effect of interdisciplinary education.

I hope Prof Rees receives this prize in recognition for his inspiring effort in the name of peace.

Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees is a tireless campaigner for peace with justice, the basis of a durable peace.  His efforts over a long career of advocacy and campaigning for this cause world-wide including in the Middle East, Indonesia, Africa and Australia are well documented.  Any quick search of the web (see some of the links below) will demonstrate the diversity and the courageous stance of his activities in support of this cause.  An innovative, passionate and inspiring activist, intellectual, author and poet, he is also personally self-effacing, generous, good humored and a delight to engage as a person.    As can been seen from the thoughtful contributions of previous commentators on this page, he is a very worthy candidate for the jury’s consideration for the World Vision Peace Prize.  

Some of the many online references:

I nominated Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees for this award, and did so, for all of the reasons that have been enumerated, by those whose comments precede mine.

All I can add is, that he is one of the finest people that I have met to date. His nobility of spirt, his refined consciousness coupled with an intelligence that is distinguished by discernment and sensitivity; blended with a fine sense of humour, produce a wonderful example of a humane , human being, who has made Peace his life's work.

The world is a better place because of his presence in it.

I met professor Rees at a local peace gathering in a small community. My first thought was, "here is an extraordinary human being." There was nothing flashy or pretentious about him, I didn't really know what he did  for a living as he always  (and still does) speaks with such humility. After further delving and spending more time with him I began to find out why my intuition was spot on. His list of work that he has carried out, and the time that he has donated for the good of a better world, goes on and on. And really, what is still so amazing is that he still has the energy to keep on going when most would have retired and given up the pursuit of peace with justice.

I have also had the great pleasure to read his inspired poetry, to understand more of the passion that he carries in the pursuit of peace.I have met few people in my life that have been as extraordinary as this man, and how he inspires me to do more, to dig down deep and seek ways to create and promote peace, and to get out and encourage others to do the same. At a time when he could be relaxing in his south coast paradise sailing on fine wind days, he is instead traveling the middle east, or Africa, or where ever he is called, to find solutions to age old problems of greed, corruption, and the exploitation of people throughout the world. Professor Rees is a hero to me, and we all need heros to inspire us so that we may grow to do bigger and better things for the good of all people. We are all more capable than we know.

A great many things have already been said about the peace work of Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees, which in their own right would justify a Peace Prize. What people do is important, but who they are is perhaps even more so as that colours all their actions, both big and small. Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees not only works for peace and practices its principles with integrity but literally embodies the change he seeks to create.

He has never been a proponent of a mashmallow, "sound of music", politically correct, conflict avoidance so often associated with peace workers. Nor has he been one of those passive agressive peace activists who debate to win, even if that requires humiliating or browbeating their oponent into submission. He has always been prepared to state the simple truth as he sees it, without judgement or pretense, to promote the open dialogue and deeper understanding so essential to peace.

He teaches (rather than preaches), both through his words and actions, what peace with justice truely means. As such, his legacy transcends his own actions to inevitably include all that has and will be achieved by those of us who have learnt from and been inspired by him.

Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees is an example for all peaceworkers on what can be achieved with integrity, dignity and humility. He would be a worthy recipient of the World Vision 2012 Peace Prize.

Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees

Whether actively hosting disabled and disadvantaged students from the Vincentia High School at our little sailing club, of which he is Commodore, or being the guest speaker at the 2011 Annual General meeting of the Eastern Suburbs branch of Amnesty International Australia, Stuart’s warmth, passion and humour are equally displayed.

His intellectual and academic rigour, and his ongoing commitment to the cause of peaceful resolution, are manifest in his writings which include his publications, 'The Jury’s Return', 'Passion for Peace: Exercising Power Creatively' and 'Tell Me the Truth About War'. These same qualities Stuart brings to his role as Commodore of our small sailing club. It can be said, though, that the activity of sailing solo on one of the club’s catamarans, gives Stuart the chance to thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of actual peace.

Australia’s only international peace prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, is the result of Stuart’s commitment to peace with justice. The Sydney Peace Foundation, established by Stuart in 1998, has in partnership with Sydney University and the City Of Sydney, announced recipients each year since 2000. The awards’ first recipient was East Timor’s Xanana GUSMAO and its most recent is Zimbawbe’s Senator Sekai Holland. Previous recipients include United States Professor Noam Chomsky; Australian Patrick Dodson, Chairman, Lingiari Foundation; Olara Otunnu, United Nations Under Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict; Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Founder and Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy.

The significance of the Sydney Peace Prize is that it gives a proper chance for the Australian public to hear and meet the recipients, and the presentation at either the Sydney Opera House, or at the Sydney Town Hall, is one that many look forward to.

Stuart Rees is a remarkably well rounded human being who has generosity of spirit, a great sense of humour, and above all, the ability to see the best in each person - an ability that makes each meeting one that can be thoroughly enjoyed.

In our opinion, Stuart Rees is most worthy of his 2012 WorldVision International Peace Prize nomination.

James Kesteven and Laraine Likely, members of the AHIMSA Sailing Club.

I highly recommend the awarding of this important recognition to Professor Stuart Rees. Professor Rees has been associated with our international and national organisation for more than a decade. In this time his contribution to the development of peace activities and issues that our organisation, SGI, has been focussing on has been invaluable. Issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, mental health, education and practical peace initiatives. His emphasis on 'peace with justice' is a vital and long term contribution to the concept of sustainable peace globally. Despite our association being quite short it is clear from the impact he has had over many decades that his efforts are self motivated and sincere. Speaking with some of his long term colleagues I am filled with a sense of the tremendous depth and breadth of his positive influence in the many realms associated with conflict resolution and human rights. His raising of young successors ignited with his passion for peace is indeed enough to deserve significant recognition. This recognition is perhaps long overdue.   

Professor Stuart Rees is an indefatigable advocate for peace--with justice--and is generous with his time and energy for this most crucial of causes. He has been an eloquent and persuasive speaker at several of the events run by our local Amnesty International group, including being guest speaker at our celebration dinner for the 60th birthday of Amnesty International. His deep knowledge of the situation in Palestine has informed the work we have done as a group.

From Mary Lane

It is a great pleasure to support Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees's 
nomination for the World Vision Peace Prize. I first met Professor 
Rees in the late 1970's. Since then we have worked together in many 
ways including as colleagues in the Department of Social Work and 
Social Policy at Sydney University (where, for example, we introduced 
peace and conflict studies into the Social Work curriculum), and as 
foundation members of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies 
(CPACS).  My association with him has provided endless opportunities 
to assess his contribution to peace building - locally, nationally 
and internationally. I can confirm that he is an outstanding 
candidate for the World Vision Peace Prize.

Professor Rees's contribution to peace has been made in many ways - 
as an educator and researcher in academia, as a public intellectual, 
as an author of books, journal articles, and poetry, as a charismatic 
leader of organisations such as CPACS and the Sydney Peace 
Foundation, and as a social activist directly involved in multiple 
social justice and peace causes.  He has an ability to analyse and 
theorise peace as well as work for it in practical ways. His creative 
use of public platforms and his ability to form partnerships with 
government, business, media and community organisations, has put 
peace and conflict issues on the agenda of a large and diverse 
audience. Importantly his efforts have brought many resources, in 
terms of people, ideas and funding, into peace building activities in 
Australia and around the world. It is important to note that Stuart 
Rees's passion for peace means that his work is not  simply focussed 
on big, national and international issues which attract media 
attention. His peace building work is also very much about day by day 
issues which unjustly affect people around him. HIs work has often 
brought him into conflict with those who are threatened by the 
pursuit of peace and social justice, but he has faced difficult, 
sometime dangerous situations, with courage and steadfast adherence 
to principle.

Leader, friend to the disadvantaged and oppressed, peace builder 
extraordinaire. Stuart Rees is a fitting candidate indeed for the 
World Vision Peace Prize. He would wear the honour with humility.


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