Patrick Dodson wins Sydney Peace Prize

20 May 2008

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Tony Pooley, has announced the Aboriginal leader Patrick Dodson will be the recipient of the 2008 Sydney Peace Prize.

Alan Cameron, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation based at the University of Sydney, says: "It is significant that the Peace Prize jury's choice of Patrick Dodson can build on the momentum for justice and reconciliation for Indigenous people, which was given such a boost by Sorry Day on 13th February."

The jury's citation for Mr Dodson reads: "For courageous advocacy of the human rights of Indigenous people, for distinguished leadership of the reconciliation movement, and for a lifetime of commitment to peace with justice, through dialogue and many other expressions of non violence."

Director of the Peace Foundation Professor Stuart Rees comments: "The jury was impressed with Patrick's work for reconciliation internationally - across Australia, in Northern Ireland and in South Africa - as well as by his creative leadership of the Lingiari Foundation and as inaugural chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. In the history of this Peace Prize, Patrick is only the second Australian recipient. In 2001, former Governor General Sir William Deane was recognised for his work with Aboriginal Australians. On that occasion he was presented with the Prize by the Reconciliation chair, Patrick Dodson."

The Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning, says: "This is a wonderful choice. Patrick is a great communicator, a significant leader, the nearest Australia has to a Nelson Mandela."

Patrick Dodson has responded: "I would be very honoured to receive the Sydney Peace Prize. I thank the jury for considering me and my work worthy of such recognition."

Other distinguished recipients of Australia's only international prize for peace have included previous Nobel winners Professor Muhammad Yunus (1998), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1999), and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson (2002), the Indian author and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy (2004) and, last year, the Swedish diplomat and disarmament advocate Dr Hans Blix.

Patrick Dodson will give the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture on 5 November in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House. On the following evening, 6 November, he will receive the 2008 Peace Prize at a gala ceremony in the Great Hall of Sydney University, and on the morning of Friday 7 November he will be the guest of 1,500 high school students in a festival of welcome and gratitude hosted by Cabramatta High School.

Contact: Kath Kenny

Phone: 02 9351 2261 or 0434 606 100