7th Annual Friendship & Awards Dinner

The Peace Islands Institute (PII) organized its 7th annual Friendship and Awards Dinner at the Aloft Boston Seaport Hotel on Thursday, April 14th. The turnout for the event was spectacular thanks to our distinguished guests, including legislators, peace activists, policy advisers, community leaders, and academicians from a variety of fields.

The event was hosted by comedian Jimmy Tingle. Mr. Tingle’s energy and Keynote Speaker Tim Phillips’s inspirational and enthusiastic remarks made the night even more memorable. The guests also enjoyed a beautiful cello performance by Marshunda Smith.

As one of the most distinguished guests of the evening, Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, received this year’s PII Leadership Award. Justice Gants’s leadership has been invaluable at a time of when political strife has caused great difficulty for Muslim Americans. Justice Gants has taken the courageous step of reminding us that the constitution gives individuals the right to choose and live their religion freely and protects those individuals from discrimination and violence.

Tim Phillips, CEO and co-founder of Beyond Conflict received this year’s PII Global Leadership Award. The members of the Peace Islands Institute Award Committee realize the importance of Phillips’s efforts on assisting societies struggling with conflicts and facilitating progress in negotiations. Thus, this year’s Global Recognition Award was a fitting tribute and commendation for Phillips’s leadership.

Rupa Shenoy, a WGBH reporter and creator of the podcast, Otherhood, received this year’s PII Media Award. At a time when we are all in need of more voices being heard in our communities, Shenoy’s podcast, Otherhood, has provided that outlet and more. Her stories break stereotypes and shine a light on the lives and successes of Americans today—of all different backgrounds; thus empowering our communities and allowing us to examine what it means to be an American.

Boston Children’s Chorus received this year’s PII Community Recognition Award. One way to remedy alienation, a root cause of radicalization, it to establish places where people from different backgrounds can collaborate together. Boston Children’s Chorus achieves this through music. Children from different cultures, economical statuses and ethnicities come together in order to learn how to make music together. As they state in their mission statement, they use music to break down barriers of race, religion, geography and socio-economic status, while teaching lessons of respect for themselves and others. With its source of energy coming from the young peacebuilders of the future, the Boston Children’s Chorus sets a great example for peaceful coexistence.