Message from the Dean

USD Medal of Peace

Medal of Peace at The Kroc School

When the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies was inaugurated in 2007, the University of San Diego created the Medal of Peace to recognize and celebrate extraordinary individuals committed to shaping more sustainable and socially just communities, and to inspire and galvanize the campus and the San Diego-Tijuana region to create change, where change is needed. For the Kroc School, recipients of the USD Medal of Peace are role models, providing unique examples of what can be done to transform situations of conflict, inequity and injustice, locally and abroad. They offer diverse paths to peacebuilding. These Changemakers embody what it means to be courageous doers, with knowledge, imagination and wisdom to shape a better world.

In this year in which we celebrate the Kroc School’s 10th year anniversary, the University of San Diego has selected Mr. Forest Whitaker as the new recipient of the USD Medal of Peace. For us Mr. Whitaker is a Changemaker who combines empathy, talent, creativity and persistence to go from inspiration to transformative action. He is an actor, producer and film director, who has excelled in film and television highlighting important issues of our time. In 2007, he won an Oscar and other awards for his role as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland. Beyond his great success in the entertainment industry, in 2012 Mr. Whitaker launched the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, a nonprofit organization “to foster peace and reconciliation in disadvantaged and fragile communities in different regions of the world.” His commitment to peace and justice has been recognized globally. For instance, he has been appointed Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation by the Director-General of UNESCO, and Advocate for Children Affected by War by the United Nations. In January of 2017 Mr. Whitaker received a Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

This spring we look forward to awarding the USD Medal of Peace to Mr. Whitaker. We are energized by our growing community of Changemakers, who are defining a new time in which more people have opportunities to thrive in peace. Join us in recognizing, celebrating and supporting them.

Begin quote For the Kroc School, recipients of the USD Medal of Peace are role models, providing unique examples of what can be done to transform situations of conflict, inequity and injustice, locally and abroad. – Dean Márquez