AN IRISH PRIEST has received an award for his conflict resolution work in Kenya – following in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama.
Fr Patrick Devine is an Irish priest who established the Shalom Centre in 2009. Today, he was given the 2013 International Caring Award at the 25th annual Caring Awards in Washington DC, for creating enduring peace settlements in Kenya.
Fr Devine is originally from Frenchpark in Co Roscommon, and with this award he succeeds the 2012 winner, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He will also be inducted into the Caring Hall of Fame.
Other former inductees to the Caring Hall of Fame include Mother Teresa, Senator George Mitchell and former US President Jimmy Carter.
Fr Devine became a member of the Society of African Missions in 1988 and has spent over 20 years in Eastern Africa. He established the Kenyan based Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) in 2009.
SCCRR is inclusive of all faiths and works with people to look at the root causes of conflict. It uses inter-ethnic education, peace building skills and problem solving workshops to do this.
The centre is using fundraising to construct inter-ethnic schools which allow children and parents from opposing groups to study together, and is also working on providing solar powered lighting to 178 schools in impoverished communities.
Fr Devine said he was happy to receive the award “on behalf of all of the people who are making enormous efforts on the ground to create enduring positive peace across Eastern Africa” but also to highlight the seriousness of conflict.
This award helps to highlight how conflict resolution can be achieved at a grass roots level by getting people to develop their own analytical skills and embrace social and economic development by understanding the fundamentals of what true peace and reconciliation are. I sincerely hope that this award helps to amplify the work of SCCRR so that it can be rolled out across the Africa.
The Caring Awards, which acknowledge individuals for their efforts to give back to society, were organised by the Caring Institute and inspired by Mother Teresa.