Yoko Ono

lennonono grant for peace


Associated Press (October 9th 2002)

"Commemorating John Lennon's birthday, Yoko Ono on Wednesday invoked his song "Give Peace a Chance" to inaugurate a new peace prize. Before a crowd of 300 U.N. ambassadors, government officials and artists, she presented $50,000 checks to the first winners, Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah and Israeli artist Zvi Goldstein, and thanked them "for being so creative and inspirational despite the intense political situation we all live in." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who congratulated Ono and the winners, said the prize showed that "peace is everybody's business - not just an issue for governments." "Individuals can make a difference, individuals can play a role, and she's out there making her difference and I think it's great," Annan said.

Ono said she was inspired to set up the LennonOno Grant for Peace after doing simultaneous art exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Jerusalem and in the Palestinian town of Umm Al-Fahem in 1997 and discovering that Palestinians and Israelis were "peace-loving people."

She chose October 9, which would have been Lennon's 62nd birthday to inaugurate the award. Lennon was killed in 1980 outside his Manhattan apartment. His killer was denied parole on Wednesday for a second time, a coincidence of timing which Ono called "uncanny." "John was a man of peace, and he was always working for it - and he's still working for it, I think, through his songs and his statements. And I just wanted to honor that, and to remind people of what he was," Ono said in an interview with The Associated Press before the awards ceremony.

She said she didn't expect the first award to solve the Mideast problems but "I think maybe it will somehow add to taking the situation in a more positive direction." (--)

Ono said the award will continue to honor artists. "Each time I would like to find a place that the healing is most needed," she said. "More than ever," she told the crowd at the awards ceremony, "we now need to come together and acknowledge and celebrate what we share: the gift of life and joy of being. Imagine all the people living life in peace. "Give peace a chance! Give peace a chance! Give peace a chance!," Ono said, as the crowd burst into loud applause."

Yoko Ono about the Peace Award: "I am very happy to honour each of these four recipients this year with the award that, for me, symbolises much of the work that John Lennon and I tried to do together and which I now continue to do".


2002 Zvi Goldstein (Israeli artist), Khalil Rabah (Palestinian artist)

2004 Mordecai Vanunu, Seymour Hersh

2006 Doctors Without Borders Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights

2008 Dr. Vadana Shiva, Country of Iceland accepted by President Olafur Grimsson

2010 Josh Fox, Michael Pollan, Alice Walker, Barbara Kowalcyk

2012 Lady Gaga, Rachel Corrie, John Perkins, Christopher Hitchens, Pussy Riot

2014 Jann Wenner (co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine), Jeremy Gilley (founder of the non-profit organisation Peace One Day), Art Production Fund (a non-profit fund by Doreen Remen & Yvonne Force) and the former mayor of Reykjavik Jon Gnarr.



Lennono Peace Grant

© Sari Gurney
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