A Berlin satirist collective and Colombian peace and human rights activists are the winners of this year's Aachen Peace Prize. The award honors those who make " a contribution to mutual understanding" among people.
The Berlin "Peng!" collective and the Colombian human rights and aid organization "Concern Universal Colombia" have been awarded the prestigious Aachen Peace Prize at a ceremony in the western German city.
"Peng!" ("Bang!" in English) is a group of artists that carries out satirical social and political actions online and in public, for example launching fake advertising campaigns to create more awareness of poverty. It has also drawn attention for its imaginative protests against the arms industry, such as putting on a fake peace prize ceremony for German weapon manufacturers.
In a laudatory speech on Saturday evening, Christoph Kriescher, a member of the award's board, said the group succeeded in "tackling painful subjects with its satirical, subversive and transgressive actions and in explaining to us the connections between the global and the local level."
Resistance and protest were "still indispensable and important" even 30 years after the establishment of the Aachen Peace Prize, Kriescher said, citing the global climate catastrophe and the growing gap between poor and rich as current challenges.
Colombian peace efforts
Kriescher praised the founders of the Colombian organization, Siobhan McGee and Jaime Bernal-Gonzales, for their efforts to promote peace and human rights in Colombia.
"Concern Universal Colombia" was launched in the 1980s and helps people in the country establish small businesses and childcare facilities, as well as carrying out political education projects. Bernal-Gonzales, a teacher, has also been involved in the long-running peace process between the government and rebels.
The Aachen Peace Prize, worth €2,000 ($2,324), was established in 1988 and is awarded to people who work to create peace and understanding between different peoples. It is supported by an association consisting of some 50 church, political, trade union and civic groups along with 350 private individuals.
The prize is traditionally awarded on the day celebrated as "anti-war day," September 1.