by Sheila Croke, Pax Christi Long Island

Pax Christi Long Island's 2012 Peacemaker Awards
Jacqueline Jill Rito ( left) and Susan Perretti received Pax Christi Long Island's 2012 Peacemaker Awards. Their blue scarves are a symbol of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, reminding us we are all united under one blue sky.

Journalist and writer Susan Perretti and BethpageHigh School teacher/advisor Jacqueline Jill Rito were given the PCLI Peace Award for 2012 on April 21 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Manhasset.

Susan and Jacqueline, members of PCLI, were honored for their work in bringing the message of peace from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers to Long Island. Jacqueline first heard of the Afghan Youth from reading about them on the PCUSA website and speaking with Amy Watts who was coordinating PCUSA’s relationship with the Afghan youth. At the award event, there was a great phone conversation between people from  5 or 6 countries, moderated by PCUSA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly.The AYPV developed the Global Days of Listening program, which enables conversations between ordinary people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Egyptand an expanding list of other countries.

Also honored were three students from Bethpage High School, Leila Dastgheib-Beheshti, Holly Josephs and Shawn Mehrzad for their efforts in presenting the Global Days of Listening at their high school, at Adelphi University, and at the United Nations.

To learn more about the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, go to

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