Winners Ages 9-22 Receive $50,000 Fellowship to Further Peacemaking Work


New York, NY. – Peace First (, a national nonprofit dedicated to teaching critical peacemaking skills to youth, announced 10 winners of the first annual Peace First Prize today at a press conference at the New York Public Library during NBC News’ “2013 Education Nation Summit.” The Peace First Prize is a national award recognizing leading youth peacemakers who are focused on creating peaceful schools and communities. The winners will comprise the first class of Prize Fellows, who each receive a 2-year, $50,000 Fellowship to further their peacemaking work.

The 10 inspiring young people were selected as 2013 Prize Fellows because through their compassion, courage, and ability to collaborate with others, they have been the driving force behind positive changes in their communities. Their projects vary widely, from addressing the needs of homeless youth to preventing school bullying, from launching sustainable school-based initiatives to encourage inclusion to promoting tolerance and non-violence through community initiatives. Some winners have evolved their projects into nonprofit organizations, while others have cultivated change through campaigns and grassroots efforts.

“We have been teaching peacemaking in schools for 20 years. We take young people seriously. The Peace First Prize is our way of celebrating living examples of youth peacemaking in action,” stated Eric D. Dawson, President and co-founder of Peace First. “We have been humbled and captivated by the work of our Prize winners and are excited to invest in them as national peace leaders.”

Commenting on today’s event, Peace First National Spokesperson America Ferrera stated, “I am thrilled to be announcing the extraordinary winners of the Peace First Prize. The work done by these young peace-makers deserves the brightest spotlight our media can offer. Here are young people who are committing their lives to improving our world. They should be celebrated!"

“We are proud to support Peace First to develop a new generation of young peacemakers through the inaugural Peace First Prize,” said Bill Ackman, co-founder of The Pershing Square Foundation, the lead investor in Peace First. “The prize winners are incredible human beings who are an inspiration for all of us.”

The 10 Prize winners are listed here:

  • Justin Bachman, 15, Solon, OH
  • Jessica Carscadden, 10, San Diego, CA
  • Wei Chen, 21, Philadelphia, PA
  • Sarah Cronk, 20, Bettendorf, IA
  • Isabella Griffin, 10, Alamosa, CO
  • Mary-Patricia Hector, 15, Lithonia, GA
  • Danielle Liebl, 22, St. Joseph, MN
  • Nicholas Lowinger, 15, Cranston, RI
  • Emily-Anne Rigal, 19, Williamsburg, VA
  • Babatunde Salaam, 21, Baltimore, MD


Peace First,, is a nonprofit (501(c)3)) public benefit corporation, that believes that young people have the power and the inclination to create positive change around them. By giving young people the tools, skills, and experiences to demonstrate compassion and empathy, Peace First helps young become engaged leaders in their communities.

Prize partners include: lead investor, The Pershing Square Foundation; media partners Family Circle, USA Network and CNN; Presenting Nominators: American Association of School Administrators, America’s Promise Alliance, American Federation of Teachers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girl Clubs of America, Campus Compact, City Year, Communities in Schools, generationOn, Girl Scouts, Mentor, Teach for America; and 4-H Council; legal partner: Goodwin Procter; creative partner Leo Burnett; general partners Drew A Katz Foundation, Fortress Investment Group, Liberty Mutual, Marsh &McLennan, NTT Data, The Reebok Foundation, Relativity Media , 1440 Foundation; supporting partner Hard Rock Café’; and celebrity ambassadors: National Spokesperson America Ferrera, Board member Rashida Jones, Vera Farmiga, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ian Harding, Avan Jogia, Debra Messing, Rosie Perez, Amy Poehler, Mark Ruffalo, Andy Samberg, Peter Sarsgaard, and Sofia Vergara.



October 6, 2013

Karen Grant, (617) 261-3883 x310
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Jennifer Burner, (352) 281-5357
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