Augustana hosts Pacem In Terris Peace and Freedom Award Ceremony

Dina Marin

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Augustana will host Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award Ceremony for the first time.
According to the Catholic Messenger, Bishop Emeritus Munis Younan is the “past president of the Lutheran World Federation and former bishop of the Evan­gelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land,” and he has been chosen to receive this prestigious award.
Pacem in Terris award’s name originates from an encyclical by Pope John Paul II.
In 1964, the Dioceses of Davenport took up that name, which translates to “peace on earth,” to give out this award to honor the recipient on their achievements towards peacemaking in the world.
“It’s been really amazing how many huge internationally known peacemakers have traveled to the Quad Cities area to receive this award. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and last year the award was given to the Dalai Lama,” said Jason Mahn, Augustana’s Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, who is also part of the Pacem in Terris Coalition.
Mahn said that in order to look for candidates for the award, The Pacem in Terris Coalition believed “it was very important to go back and look for someone from the Middle East as it is a region with many conflicts but also a lot of peacemaking happening.
“Bishop Younan was chosen because of where he comes from and the amazing job he’s doing as a Palestinian refuge working between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities in the middle east,” Mahn said.
An article by Catholic Messenger reported that Bishop Emeritus Munis Younan was born in Jerusalem to refugee parents from Palestine.
Among his achievements were “Bishop Younan’s interpretation of the Augsburg Confession into Arabic and his dynamic enrollment in ecumenical and interfaith discoursed in Jerusalem.”
In 2002, as Catholic Messenger reported, he started “The Jonah Group,” which consists of many informal brunches and gatherings that called for unity for Christians and Jews.
In 2012,  Bishop Younan was part of a group of worldwide religious leaders in “Respecting the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders” created by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
According to the article, in 2016, Bishop Younan and Pope Francis “signed the Joint Statement by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.”
Campus Chaplain Pastor Priggie said that the Pacem in Terris award is important for our community because “peacemaking is a central value in all world religions. And any time we can learn from someone who’s life is a testimony of peacemaking is helpful as we all need role models of what peace looks like in Augustana, our community and the world.”
The Pacem in Terris Award Ceremony will take place in Ascension Chapel at Founder’s Hall on Tuesday, Sept 24 at 7 pm. The free ceremony at Augustana was followed by a book signing and reception.