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Professor, wife win peace award

K. Aaron van Oosterhaut | Wednesday, September 22, 2004

After years of promoting peace both here in the United States and abroad, Notre Dame professor David Cortright and his wife Karen Jacob were recognized with a national award last week.Cortright and Jacob, married since 1989, jointly received the Gandhi Peace Award from the group Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP). The ceremony took place Sept. 18 in New Haven, Conn., near PEP’s headquarters in Milford.”I feel very honored,” said Cortright, a professor and visiting fellow in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “Even to be mentioned in the same breath as Eleanor Roosevelt, César Chávez, Dorothy Day, is a great honor,” he added, referring to past Gandhi Peace Award winners.Jacob could not be reached for comment.The award was created in 1959 to honor the man for whom it was named, and his words “love ever suffers, never revenges itself,” are inscribed on the medallion given to each recipient.According to PEP’s Web site, “[the Gandhi Peace Award] is to be awarded ‘for contributions made in the promotion of international peace and good will.'”Contributing to this peace and good will, Cortright has served in many pacifist organizations, including the GI peace movement in Vietnam, the Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy and lately, the Win Without War Coalition.Jacob has worked for PEP in the past, and is currently the board president of the organization. She also serves as the Northern Indiana chapter president of Women’s Action for New Directions.Despite being board president of PEP, Cortright said that Jacob knew nothing of the award.”She was completely surprised when they proposed it to her at one of the board meetings,” he said.Apart and together, Cortright and Jacob have done much to work for peace. “For a long time we pursued parallel but separate paths,” explained Cortright, “and in the last 15 years we’ve been partners pursuing the same path.”Now that he has won the award, Cortright feels even more drive to maintain his past efforts.”There is a bit of additional responsibility that one feels being acknowledged in this way,” he said. “It’s like a commission – it carries with it an expectation of further dedication to peace.”

kvanoost@nd.edu