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May 24, 2007

Samina & AMV to receive distinguished
 FOR peace awards

Samina Faheem Sundas, Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice, and her organization  the American Muslim Voice will receive (the Fellowship of Reconciliation) FOR's Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize for their work to bridge the gap between communities and unite us all under the umbrella of our common humanity.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) will be hosting its third annual Festival of Peace on Sunday, September 16th at its national headquarters in Upper Nyack, New York. The popular event, which has attracted 400 residents of the lower Hudson Valley in each of the past two years, will this year crown a four-day stretch of peace-centered activities being coordinated by FOR with other community groups in the region.

The goal of the Festival is to offer residents of Rockland and surrounding counties an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of peace and to learn about this distinguished organization, which has worked for world peace and justice in collaboration with such global religious leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sister Joan Chittister, and Thich Nhat Hanh. FOR, founded in 1915, is the oldest and largest interfaith peace organization in the nation.

“We are excited to build on the success of our first two festivals and to introduce many more people to FOR’s amazing work at home and around the globe,” said Mark Johnson, FOR’s executive director. “This has been an exciting year for the Fellowship. We’ve sent 40 U.S. citizens to Iran as civilian diplomats to build peace between our countries. Our sister community in Colombia has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. And we are organizing workshops nationwide to build alliances across religion, race/ethnicity, and age, all in an effort to help demilitarize our world and build the ‘Beloved Community’ that Dr. King envisioned 40 years ago.”

This year’s Festival will be highlighted by the awarding of three prestigious peace prizes. Mel Duncan, executive director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, will receive FOR’s 2007 Pfeffer Peace Prize for his organization’s courageous efforts in conflict regions around the world. The mission of the Peaceforce is to build a trained global civilian corps committed to third-party nonviolent intervention and to apply proven strategies to protect human rights, deter violence, and help create space in which local peacemakers can carry out their work. The Peaceforce currently has a team working in a Sri Lankan war zone, and its work will soon expand to conflict zones in Guatemala, Uganda, Colombia, and the Philippines. Two Pfeffer Prize recipients have later received the Nobel Peace Prize, including the 2006 Nobel awardee, Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh.

Samina Faheem Sundas, executive director of American Muslim Voice, will receive FOR’s 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize for her organization’s passionate work to bridge the gap between communities and unite us all under the umbrella of our common humanity. A nonviolent, grassroots organization founded in 2003, the American Muslim Voice (AMV) seeks to foster lifelong friendships between Muslims and all communities. The AMV works with Muslim and multi-faith organizations that share their vision, dedication and commitment to preserve and protect civil liberties, constitutional, and human rights for all.

Local activists Phil and Fran Greenspan will also be honored with the Festival of Peace award. The Greenspans have worked tirelessly in Westchester and Rockland Counties over several decades to promote peace and justice and to educate their communities on issues of the day.

The Festival will feature music, dance, and activities for all ages. A number of distinguished artists and community leaders will be in attendance. The bulk of the day's events will take place outdoors, and tours of FOR’s historic building overlooking the Hudson will be offered throughout the day. The Festival begins at 1:00 p.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is free, and food and crafts will be available for purchase on the grounds.