Medal of Peace

The Medal of Peace was created in 2007 to coincide with the inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. The Medal of Peace is awarded to extraordinary individuals who have contributed significantly to build peace with justice at the local or international level and have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of shaping a better world.

"The mandate is to change the world, and that begins with ourselves. Once you become comfortable as a peacemaker, it becomes something instinctual because we know very clearly what the alternative is. We see it every day in our streets." — Martin Sheen, first Medal of Peace recipient during Kroc School's inauguration

Medal of Peace Award
Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker

2018 Recipient

In this year in which we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the University of San Diego has selected Mr. Forest Whitaker as the new recipient of the USD Medal of Peace. Mr. Whitaker is a Changemaker who combines empathy, talent, creativity and persistence to go from inspiration to transformative action. He is a unique example to us all of what can be done to transform situations of conflict, inequity, and injustice, locally and abroad.

As an actor, producer, and film director, Mr. Whitaker 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.

Mr. Whitaker was awarded the 2018 Medal of Peace at the University of San Diego on April 5, 2018.

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His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, with the USD Medal of Peace, delivers his talk at the Compassion Without Borders Symposium at University of San Diego on April 18, 2012. Photo by Tim Mantaoni

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

2012 Recipient

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, with the USD Medal of Peace, delivers his talk at the Compassion Without Borders Symposium at University of San Diego on April 18, 2012.

Photo by Tim Mantaoni
President Mary E. Lyons, PhD. Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and William Headley, PhD., Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, at the University of San Diego Medal of Peace Ceremony on February 22, 2008.

Christopher Hill

2008 Recipient

President Mary E. Lyons, PhD. Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and William Headley, PhD., Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, at the University of San Diego Medal of Peace Ceremony on February 22, 2008.

Kenneth Hackett, President, Catholic Relief Services and Martin Sheen at the inauguration of the University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies on October 17, 2007.

Kenneth Hackett and Martin Sheen

2007 Recipients

Kenneth Hackett, President, Catholic Relief Services and Martin Sheen at the inauguration of the University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies on October 17, 2007.