Joining the likes of Dr. Maya Angelou, Desmond Tutu and Paul Simon, former President Jimmy Carter will receive a well-deserved honor next month in New York City. During its annual Celebration Gala, the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) will honor the 39th President of the United States with the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award.
This prize recognizes a person who made a significant difference in promoting a peaceful society, which Present Carter certainly did during his time in office and beyond.
After leaving the White House in 1981, President Carter founded The Carter Center, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on international and national issues surrounding public policy.
He has also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”.
The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award was created in honor of the late 13-year-old best-selling poet and fellow peacemaker. Stepanek passed away from dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy when he was only a teenager, but he made a tremendous impact on those that knew him through his writings and motivational speeches.
President Carter was his hero.
“From the age of 7, Mattie viewed Jimmy Carter as a role model. After the two began interacting when Mattie was 10, President Carter served as a mentor to Mattie as he pursued his own peace endeavors,” said Dr. Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mother.
“These two peacemakers collaborated on a book, and grew a bond of mutual respect and love. Today, their book, ‘Just Peace: A Message of Hope,’ serves as the curriculum foundation for global youth seeking to improve our world by tending to basic human needs. I am beyond excited that Mattie’s friend, and mine, Jimmy Carter, will be accepting the 2016 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award from WAFF. This award is truly a celebration of Mattie’s legacy, which was indeed shaped by this amazing humanitarian and peacemaker,” she added.
U2 frontman, Bono, will also be recognized at the WAFF’s Gala with the We Are Family Foundation Humanitarian Award. This prize honors a public figure that strives to improve human conditions throughout the world.
The funds raised during the gala support WAFF’s mission and programs. The organization strives to support teen leaders across the globe that address basic human needs and promote a peaceful world. Its programs include TEDxTeen and Three Dot Dash, which mentor youth from 64 countries by giving them a platform to share their stories and inspire people from other cultures.
The 2016 Celebration Gala is held at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom on April 29. To purchase tickets, or to make a contribution to the We Are Family Foundation, visit wearefamilyfoundation.org.