News Release

Morehouse College Is Giving a Peace Prize to the Prophet

President Nelson to be honored for global leadership

Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Georgia, has announced today that it will give its inaugural Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize to President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The school will bestow this new honor on the 98-year-old prophet on the evening of April 13, 2023, at the Worldhouse Interfaith and Interdenominational Assembly at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel in Atlanta.

This prize is named after Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. It is intended, the school said, for someone who promotes peace and positive social transformation through nonviolent means and uses their global leadership to affirm peace, justice, diversity and pluralism.

A statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. President Russell M. Nelson will be honored for his "global leadership to affirm peace, justice, diversity and pluralism" at an event in the chapel on April 13, 2023.
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“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way, and nonviolence is the path,” said the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. “You cannot succeed by preaching and lecturing about peace. You must be the thing itself. You cannot have what you are not willing to be.” Dr. Carter will confer the honor to President Nelson at the ceremony.

President Nelson will accept the award via video, and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square will perform virtually.

The prophet’s five-year ministry is filled with urgings to love and respect everyone. At an event in 2018 celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood being extended to all races, he taught Latter-day Saints to “build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”

President Russell M. Nelson greets Yumeka Rushing, Chief Strategy Officer of the NAACP, prior to a news conference with NAACP leadership in the Church Administration Building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on June 14, 2021.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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President Nelson began building such bridges with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 2018 with a joint call for greater civility and racial harmony in society. At the 2019 NAACP convention in Detroit, the prophet said “we have a God-given responsibility to help make life better for those around us.” And he expressed his hope that “we may increasingly call each other dear friends” and “go forward doing our best to exemplify the two great commandments — to love God and love each of His children.”

The next year, in response to riots and violence throughout the United States, President Nelson condemned racism and plead for peace.

“We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven,” President Nelson said. “His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him — ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female,’ (2 Nephi 26:33). It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.”

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President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, are accompanied by the Rev. Theresa Dear prior to his speech at the NAACP's 110th annual national convention in Detroit on July 21, 2019.2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The partnership with the NAACP continued. In June 2021, President Nelson pledged US$1 million per year over three years to fund scholarships for Black students. He also pledged significant funding for the Rev. Amos C. Brown fellowship to Ghana (which took place in August 2022) and joint humanitarian projects in the United States (two of which began in San Francisco and Memphis last year).

Dr. Ira Helfand will also be honored the same night as President Nelson with the college’s Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builder’s Prize. He is recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and copresident of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Both President Nelson and Dr. Helfand will receive a book collection, a medallion, a citation, a prismatic flame or crystal obelisk and their oil portrait inducted in the International Hall of Honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. An oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln will also be inducted that night into the Hall of Honor.

That same evening, an announcement will be made about future collaboration between the Church of Jesus Christ and the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.

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