Mac alum to receive Pfeffer Peace Prize

By Hattie Stahl

Mel Duncan ’72 will be awarded the 2007 Pfeffer Peace Prize on Sept. 16 for his work with the Nonviolent Peaceforce. The U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the oldest peace organization in the country, gives the prize to one individual annually. Duncan, one of the founders of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, currently serves as the organization’s executive director. The Nonviolent Peaceforce is a nonpartisan organization with staff and volunteers based around the world. It works to build a standing force of unarmed citizens trained to ensure peace keeping in areas of conflict.

“We’re creating viable alternatives for dealing with violent conflict in a way that protects human rights and deters violence, creating a space for local people committed to peace building to come together and stay alive,” Duncan said, noting that in many cases, the victims of war are civilians. “We work to enable civilians to come to the aid of our fellow civilians.”

For Duncan, receiving the Pfeffer Peace Prize serves as a sample of the growing recognition of the importance of the role of nonviolent peacekeeping. “There’s a lot fewer dead people,” Duncan said. “And it’s a lot cheaper.”

Duncan said he hoped that his work would set an example for Macalester students. “You can graduate from Mac and live out your values in meaningful, creative ways,” he said.