from Pax Christi International
Ed. Note: Before coming to Pax Christi USA to serve as Executive Director, I worked in the International Secretariat in Brussels. In November 2018, I traveled to Aotearoa New Zealand with Pax Christi International’s Secretary General Greet Vanaerschot and got to meet several members of the Pacific Climate Warriors. I was both inspired and awed by the incredible work that they are doing to raise the alarm about the climate crisis and the many issues that intersect with it. On behalf of Pax Christi USA, I want to offer our sincere and joyful congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. Congratulations Pacific Climate Warriors! (Johnny Zokovitch)
Pax Christi International is pleased to announce that the Pacific Climate Warriors are the recipient of the 2020 Pax Christi International Peace Award. The award ceremony will be held in Auckland, New Zealand on 10 December, International Human Rights Day, in an event hosted by Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Pacific Climate Warriors (which is linked to the global non-governmental climate action organisation 350.org) is a vibrant network of young people who live in 17 Pacific island nations and diaspora communities in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Their mission is to peacefully raise awareness of their communities’ vulnerability to climate change, to show their people’s strength and resilience in the face of extraordinary challenges, and to nonviolently resist the fossil fuel industry whose activities damage their environment.
Upon making their decision for the Pacific Climate Warriors, the members of the Pax Christi International board acknowledged the admirable leadership shown by young people on this critical issue. They also want to draw attention to the region of Oceania, a beautiful part of the world which is too often overlooked. The brave, nonviolent and tenacious actions of the Pacific Climate Warriors are to be applauded and encouraged.
“In 2018, during my visit to Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand, I had the opportunity to meet and learn more about the Pacific Climate Warriors,” said Greet Vanaerschot, secretary general of Pax Christi International. “Their determination, their creativity and their seriousness in empowering young people to take action to protect their culture and to advocate for the survival of their islands are inspirational and worthy of support. At this time, as the Catholic Church deepens its commitment to the teachings of Laudato Si’, which reminds us that we are truly one community, we celebrate the Pacific Climate Warriors and the example they show us.”
Established in 1988, the Pax Christi International Peace Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honors contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and nonviolence in different parts of the world.