Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: A noble, if not Nobel, calling

Yesterday was a long day in Idledale, the tiny town in the foothills where Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff put up their feet when they're not pounding the pavement on behalf of PeaceJam, the non-profit they founded over a dozen years ago that links up youth from around the world with Nobel Peace Prize winners to push for peace.

Once again, word had leaked that PeaceJam might be up for the Nobel Peace Prize, a rumor reinforced by a Reuters piece headlined "Prize Going Back to Activist Roots." PeaceJam is as activist as it gets; Engle and Suvanjieff are on the ground from urban Denver to Costa Rica to Tibet. And they have some powerful supporters, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of a dozen Nobel prize-winners who PeaceJam brought to Denver three years ago for its tenth anniversary event. Tutu wrote a letter to the Nobel committee endorsing PeaceJam for the prize. Engle and Suvanjieff have been honored before, but a Nobel wouldn't hurt, especially in these cash-strapped times for non-profits.

But then, early this morning, the word finally came down: the Nobel went to Barack Obama.

Read Tutu's lpro-PeaceJam letter after the jump.

Dear Members of the Nobel Committee:

I wish to endorse the nomination of the PeaceJam Foundation and its founders, Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, as proposed by Mairead Corrigan Maguire

It has been my privilege to participate in a number of PeaceJam events both in South Africa and in the United States. I have been hugely impressed by the degree of understanding and passion for peace issues that the PeaceJam programme has instilled in young people around the globe.

As adults we are passing on to the youth of today problems that we have not been able to solve and sadly have often exacerbated; poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, climate change and seemingly intractable wars and conflicts in the Middle East, Iraq, the Sudan and, to our shame, many other countries besides. The PeaceJam programme is tapping into the energy and goodwill of young people and they are becoming catalysts for positive change.

PeaceJam is empowering young people around the globe to take responsibility and find new solutions where older generations have failed. I salute Dawn and Ivan for their untiring efforts. They have been quite outstanding in their commitment to young people and their future. I salute them and commend them to you most warmly as worthy of your highest consideration for this honour.

God bless you.

Desmond M Tutu Archbishop Emeritus