This $100,000 award is given to an individual who has challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative and socially responsible work of significance. Previous winners: Robert Moses • Dolores Huerta David Protess • Barbara Ehrenreich • Jonathan Kozol • Amy Goodman • Michael Ratner • Van Jones • Jim Hightower • Cecile Richards • Bill McKibben Candidates are found in a range of occupations, including academia, journalism, organizing, public health, environmental sciences, literature, art and the humanities. The prize is intended to encourage the recipients to continue their work and to inspire others to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies they face in their own careers. The recipient must be a U.S. citizen and cannot currently be holding or seeking public office.
Ann Wright was a career diplomat and U.S. Army Colonel who spent 29 years in the military before retiring and 16 in the U.S. State Department's foreign service. She publicly resigned in March 2003 in protest of the new war on Iraq. Since that moment, Wright has worked more tirelessly than anyone else in the U.S. peace movement, traveling and speaking nonstop, very rarely returning to her home in Hawaii. Wright has been a lead organizer of major events. She managed Camp Casey, a protest encampment set up outside George W. Bush's "ranch" in Crawford, Texas, in 2005. She is currently helping to lead the effort of Americans to take part in an international aid flotilla to Gaza. Wright has been arrested countless times in nonviolent protest, and has spoken up in innumerable hearings and events. She has defused tensions, encouraged whistleblowers, and educated more people than we'll ever know. She's been a powerful voice in media interviews, through her drafting of position statements and columns, and through her co-authorship of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." Wright has been a selfless promoter of Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, and numerous other peace groups, helping to bind them together, and to connect peace organizations with other movements for social justice. She has in particular been a leading advocate for exposing and preventing sexual harassment and assault within the U.S. military. Wright's skills, sincerity, and tireless dedication have made her invaluable to the international, as well as the U.S. peace movement. She has made a better ambassador to the world since her retirement than most officially holding those positions, and she would make a more deserving recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize than some past recipients we might name. More than anyone else we have even heard of -- and we all know Ann as a friend and a sister -- Ann Wright should be credited with "challenging the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative and socially responsible work of significance."