LAUREATE 2016 – GLOBAL PEACE and RECONCILIATION INTERNATIONALLY-REPUTED PEACEMAKER
Michael LAPSLEY, a priest from South Africa who works with victims as well as authors of apartheid and other forms of repression and exclusion, is publicly recognized for his disarming strength that has transformed wounds into powerful healing and reconciliation. The numerous comments and support received online focused on his courage, his approach for healing memories, and warmly recommended he be recognized as GLOBAL PEACE and RECONCILIATION INTERNATIONALLY-REPUTED PEACEMAKER for the 2016 Public Peace Prize.
Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest born in New Zealand, was sent to South Africa at age 24. There he discovered the terrible reality that was Apartheid.
From Freedom Fighter
Appalled by racial segregation so contrary to his pacifist and evangelical values, he quickly became involved in the struggle for freedom. He went as far as accepting to become the ANC’s chaplain, a position which exposed him to every danger. As a white priest, his brave words and natural charism made him a marked man. Because of the death threats he received, he went into exile in Lesotho and later in Zimbabwe. This, however, did not impede him from working for a more equal society. In that country, on April 28, 1990, he lost both hands, an eardrum and an eye in a parcel-bomb attack. From that time, he was forced to live with a severe handicap – with hooks instead of hands and in need of assistance on a daily basis.
He lived through a period of terrible pain and numerous surgical procedures. Yet, as he himself explains, he evolved from victim, to survivor, to victor. When the Apartheid regime fell, Michael Lapsley returned to South Africa and participated alongside his friend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was asked to contribute to the Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture. He understood that, in order to attain peace, a vast undertaking of reconciliation was necessary. In 1998, he founded the Institute for Healing Memories (www.healing-memories.org) in which he has been involved with vitality and conviction ever since.
Healing the Past
Now at 65, he travels the world as an agent of reconciliation and peace. He facilitates healing memories workshops among inmates, refugees and the sick in numerous countries on every continent. His experience enables him to relate to those most wounded. Never one to be prone to discouragement, he managed to extricate himself from his ordeal with a strength which stemmed from humility and compassion. His autobiography, Redeeming the Past, My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer, has been translated into several languages.
For more information:
LAPSLEY, Michael, Redeeming the Past, My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer. With Stephen Karakashian, New York, Orbis Books, 2012.
http://www.healing-memories.org/ Three videos that explore the stages of healing.
The Story of Father Michael Lapsley and the Founding of the Institute for Healing Memories. Video produced, directed and edited by Melvin McCray, 2014. Duration 15:49. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muJgx0TO48s in English with French subtitles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZJPkHWYmBc in English with Spanish subtiltes (La historia de Michael Lapsley y la fundación para la reconciliación).
To support this nomination for the Public Peace Prize, post a comment indicating the reasons why you would like this person to receive this distinction. Each comment will be worth three votes for this candidate.
Support and comments received in English
I have known Father Michael Lapsley for 32 years and he has always been an inspiration to me, as he has to countless others. He has spent his life in the struggle for equality and freedom. During the apartheid years in South Africa the issues were clear, but since then he has shone his light onto a broader scope of conflicts, including domestic violence and homelessness. In the midst of strife, he has always been a voice for peace. The fact that this was perceived as such a threat that he was sent a letter-bomb which blew off his hands shows the power of his voice. Acknowledgement of his steadfast commitment would be appropriate, as he continues to travel the globe helping people and communities heal from trauma. Thank you for considering him for this prize.
I would like to support Michael Lapsley’s nomination for Public Peace
Prize. An excellent candidate. I had the chance to learn about him
during his speaking tour this past summer.
I heartily agree that Michael Lapsley would be a super candidate for this prize.
Good luck to him!
I would like to recommend Michael Lapsley as a candidate for the Peace prize. Michael’s unflinching commitment to peace and reconciliation has encouraged thousands of people to find hope amidst their own tragedies. For those working at peace and reconciliation, his life story has encouraged us not to give up no matter how bleak the situation might seem. His testimony at Christ Church Cathedral this summer was a powerful witness to the community that the darkness will not prevail as long as each one of us continues to seek to bring peace to our hurting world.
His humility, as well as his unpretentious manner, reminded us that the greatness of a man is not measured by power but by the lives of people touched.
It is with great pleasure that I recommend this recognition for a man who has done so much for the message of peace in the world.
I wish to register my support for the nomination of Fr. Michael Lapsley for the 2016 Public Peace Prize. Listening to his story, his personal testimony and listening to those he has helped to deal with trauma has helped me overcome my own personal difficulties and realise that it is possible to achieve global peace with understanding and forgiveness. The realistic approach he takes, and the evidence of his work among communities he has worked with globally has convinced me to advocate for his work through the Institute for the Healing of Memories globally. Supporting his nomination for the award is my humble acknowledgement of the monumental work Fr. Michael Lapsley is engaged in in the Healing of Memories.
n recommending we honour the Reverend Michael Lapsley with a Public Peace Prize I believe we reaffirm that he touched us, moved us and inspired us to do more than we thought we might do for peace and justice in this world. In my family’s case he did that in Calgary, Canada, and very far, far away from South Africa. I fully support his nomination. JR
James (Jim) Roy
I support Michael Lapsley
To continue to fight for peace and justice after such injuries seems to me something special.
I support the nomination of Michael Lapsley. I had the privilege of listening to him when he spoke at St. Ethelburga’s in London. His humble thought provoking witness for peace and nonviolence is powerful.
Michael Lapsley has worked tirelessly in many different countries to support and help people overcome situations that have affected their physical and mental states. Lapsley works on healing memories He speaks from the heart, and from experience, to everyone.
I have had the priviledge and joy of listening to him speak and then talking to him. Unconditional love and wisdom permeate his being.
Sharon Ross-Jones and extended family