As a tribute to the ideals espoused by Gandhiji, the Government of India launched the International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This is an annual award given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.The award carries Rs.1 crore in cash, convertible in any currency in the world, a plaque and a citation. It is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, creed or sex.

    A jury consisting of the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and two other eminent persons decides the awardee each year.

    Ordinarily, only proposals coming from competent persons invited to nominate are considered. However, a proposal is not taken as invalid for consideration by the jury merely on the ground of not having emanated from competent persons. If, however, it is considered that none of the proposals merit recognition, the jury is free to withhold the award for that year. Only achievements within 10 years immediately preceding the nomination are considered for the award; an older work may, however, be considered if its significance has not become apparent until recently. A written work, in order to be eligible for consideration, should have been published.

    So far, the prize has been awarded to such distinguished personalities as Dr. Julius Nayerere, former President of Tanzania; Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, founder President of the Sarvodaya Movement in Sri Lanka; Dr. Gerhard Fischer, who dedicated his life for service to leprosy patients, Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata, Baba Amte and jointly to Dr. Nelson Mandela and Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

    The Gandhi Peace Prize for 2001 was recently awarded to Mr. John Hume, the architect of the Northern Ireland Peace Settlement, who, through his fearless perseverance and dedication has demonstrated that there can be a peacefully negotiated solution to any conflict, however deep-rooted it may be.

    In the arduous road towards achieving peace Mr. John Hume’s masterly diplomatic moves played an active role in the peace process that ultimately led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 along with Mr. David Trimble and named the Irish Man of the Millennium, Mr. John Hume is an inspiration for peace-loving people all over the world.