by Elisa Hawkes
Coastal Journal staff
BRUNSWICK — Every August since 2005, the Annual Peacemaker Award has been given in recognition of a community member whose work has made the world a more sustainable, peaceful, and compassionate place in which to live. This year will follow what has become a community tradition.
PeaceWorks, a local nonprofit organization, is dedicated to bringing peace and caring to the community and the world. Established in 2001, PeaceWorks has grown, providing a weekly Friday evening peace vigil on the Brunswick Mall, presentations of films, speakers and more at local libraries, involvement with political groups such as the Occupy Movement, and the yearly Greater Brunswick Peace Fair for the past eight years. The organizing committee consists of six to eight core members who meet monthly to plan activities and work to ensure the continuation of the organization’s mission.
According to Fair Coordinator Stephanie Boucher, the Friday peace vigils attract dozens of participants in good weather, and the peace fair usually has hundreds of attendees. Boucher said PeaceWorks is seeking nominations for the 2012 Peacemaker of the year. She said the criteria for nominations are broad. The nominee should be someone in the community whose work is aimed at making the world a peaceful, compassionate, sustainable place, whether on a local or global level. Previous nominees have come from humanitarian, political and religious arenas, as well as others. According to Boucher, this is a learning process intended to build community. The award winners are people who in ways large and small have used their creativity and energy to build a better world, filled with hope and respect for others, she said.
PeaceWorks representatives wrote, “Last year the Fair honored John Dennen for his persistent outreach regarding the care of those caught up in the African Aids Pandemic, as well as Mary Beth Sullivan for her peace-building work with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.”
Previous honorees included Gary Lawless, poet, activist, and co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick.
The deadline for receiving nominations has been extended to June 22. To nominate someone, send a brief description of what it is that led you to nominate this person, to Peace Works at P.O. Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011. The Peace Fair Planning Committee will select the award recipient, who will be recognized at the opening ceremony of the Peace Fair in August.
PeaceWorks committee member Rosalie Tyler Paul said, “We get only a handful of nominations and would love to know about more of the peacemakers in our community.”
The fair will begin at 10 a.m. with opening ceremonies and the presentation of the Peacemaker award. The day will be include games, and art and music activities for children, poetry writing, acoustic performances throughout the day, conversations about peace building led by high school students from Brunswick High School and Mt. Ararat High School, and more.
Throughout the day, representatives from more than 30 organizations will be on hand to speak with attendees about their work and local as well as global issues. Organizations such as local churches, Buddhist temples, political groups, Bring Our War Dollars Home, the Gathering Place, Merrymeeting Community Shares, and more will be represented. The day will conclude with a concert.
The Peace Fair will take place on Saturday, August 4, beginning at 10 a.m. on the Mall in Brunswick (gazebo end). Activities will continue until approximately 3 p.m. From then to around 5 p.m. there will be a concert. Admission to the fair is free, and all are welcome. For more information, visit www.peaceworksbrunswickme.org, or email Stephanie Boucher,