2015 Public Peace Prize Finalist in the Local Peacemaker category
Building peace on a daily basis in an urban community requires mindful people with leadership skills that empower individuals at the grassroots level: Luke Martin is precisely this kind of peacemaker, who is fully dedicated to this mission. As a member of a Mennonite family he instills the values and attitudes rooted in a strong spirituality of peace and non-violence. In his current role as Executive Director of La Maison de l’amitié, (The House of Friendship) situated in a multicultural neighborhood in Montreal (Canada), he can share these values through his implication in a variety of community-based programs.
He can be found participating in an annual Bike for Peace event (Vélo pour la paix), involved in a bi-weekly public Farmers’ Market, as a leading figure of the Greening Duluth Street project, or as director of Camp Cosmos, an inner-city, multicultural day camp, while vigilantly watching over the language courses offered to the immigrant students at La Maison de l’amitié.
Wherever citizens are celebrating the diversity of multicultural life in Montreal, you will find Luke Martin, who is fully bilingual, sharing his vision and values trough partnership with other community organizations. He brings the support of La Maison de l’amitié and his personal leadership to the annual celebration of International Day of Peace, on September 21, which is organized annually with five other NGOs.
Luke Martin is a compassionate man, a natural mediator and a local peace builder who is greatly appreciated by those who have an opportunity to meet him. La Maison de l’amitié is turning 40 this year, and his presence there is a gift to be celebrated as well.
“As he is a pacifist by conviction, all his work is infused with that conviction. I have volunteered several times for the annual peace festival, seen his efforts in supporting the Greening of Duluth project and watched with admiration his efforts to promote cross-cultural ties with the language classes at the House of Friendship.”
“The Maison d’Amitié of which he is director has gone through numerous incarnations, as it adapts to the changing realities of the needs of the community. It housed refugees when that was needed, it embarked on and continues to provide language instruction to new immigrants, it serves the student population who desire to experience what it means to live in community, and it is deeply involved in local initiatives such as promoting ecology and urban agriculture. Throughout these phases, Luke has been its capable leader, listening to the people around him with sensitivity and compassion. In his gentle style of interaction he embodies what it means to be peacemaker.”
“Luke is an excellent director for this motley crew because he is willing to support each person where they’re at, and he gives us opportunities to take on challenges we didn’t know we were capable of. At the same time, he is very understanding and flexible when people have trouble tackling what might be considered a basic task in another work place. He demonstrates every day that his biggest satisfaction is watching people grow and develop, and giving them the support and tools they need to do that. Luke is a non-anxious presence, even when we have been going through significant financial set-backs.”
“Beyond all these concrete projects that Luke has helped bring to the light of day, he is also a model of productive collaboration and empowering leadership. As one of his employees, I can say that he plays an important role in inspiring and empowering other people’s visions and gifts in the field of peace-building and community development.”
More at www.lamaisondelamitie.ca