Torch-Bearer Award

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As we journey across the country and around the world, we come into contact with remarkable people who have inspired their communities, their cities and nations.

Our founder, Sri Chinmoy, loved to appreciate and honour people from all walks of life for their tireless efforts for a better world. The Peace Run seeks to continue this tradition, by recognising these remarkable people through our Torch-Bearer Award.

This Peace award is something you cannot train for – you cannot line up and run against the best athletes in the world – which makes it really special.

Elena Mayer
Silver medallist 10,000m, South Africa
Torch-Bearer award recipient, 2020

Do you know a Torch-Bearer?

Many of our honorees have been international dignitaries and luminaries, but most of the people we honour are ordinary heroes who are working to uplift their communities. If the Peace Run is coming to your area, we would love to meet these people!

We invite you to nominate someone in your area who you feel to be a worthy recipient. They may come from all walks of life -  well-known celebrities; business people; sportsmen or women; charity workers; doctors or nurses; schoolchildren - anyone who has worked selflessly to better the lives of others.

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International Recipients

List of recipients (PDF) ›

Carl Lewis

We were honoured that international Spokesman for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, Sudhahota Carl Lewis, was the first recipient of the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. A winner of 9 Olympic Gold Medals, Sudhahota, as he was affectionately called by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy, has been a supporter of the Peace Run right since its inception in 1987.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Tutu, the Nobel Peace Laureate for 1984, sent this powerful message to the runners: "I am happy to support your Peace Run for justice, peace and reconciliation. The world must know that God wants us to live amicably as brothers and sisters, members of one family, the human family, God's family."

Thank you so much for this very special award which I shall treasure. Please pray for us. I wish to say that world has got very many ugly things—war and poverty and disease. But it also has beautiful things….

Sri Chinmoy was one of God’s very best fellow workers, working for harmony and peace, and we thank God for his tireless service. We pray for God’s Blessings on all who follow his teachings to plant the seeds of peace and harmony throughout the world.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Sri Chinmoy discovered in Archbishop Desmond Tutu a friend of the spirit, someone who shared his dream of a world founded upon the feeling that we all belong to one family. Together they collaborated on many humanitarian aid projects for South Africa. On a global level, Archbishop Tutu enthusiastically embraced Sri Chinmoy's concept of a relay run encircling the world in a bond of peace and friendship.

Tegla Loroupe

Tegla is the United Nations Ambassador of Sport and former women's marathon world record holder. She was also instrumental in bringing the first refugee team to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. Tegla has created a school with 450 students in Kenya as well as arranging Peace Races in her home region aimed at reconciling warring factions and encouraging warriors to give up their weapons. We are extremely proud that she is also our Peace Run spokesperson.

Here, Tegla is presented with the award by Cathy Oerter, founder of Art of the Olympians.

Dr. Davidson Hepburn

Hon. Dr. Davidson Hepburn serving as the President of the 35th General Conference of UNESCO met with us in his home country of the Bahamas.

While serving as the President of the 35th General Conference of UNESCO, Hon. Dr. Davidson Hepburn met with us in his home country of the Bahamas.

In recognition for his tireless service to the international community we presented him with the Torch-Bearer Award during a ceremony at St. John's College in Nassau. A dear friend of Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, for over 30 years Dr. Hepburn participated in many of our activities and programs during his tenure as Bahamian Ambassador to the United Nations.

A true global citizen, we are deeply moved by the opportunity to recognize his continuing service to the world.

Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi is one of the most decorated and popular distance runners in American history. To date, he is the only athlete to have won the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal. 

It is great to be recognized by the Peace Run. Thank you for this huge honor.

Meb Keflezighi
receiving the Torch Bearer award, May 2018.

Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King is a woman whose sincerity and goodness are immediately felt by all those who have the good fortune to come into contact with her. In the last years of Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy's life, she developed a unique and special friendship with him. She attended our opening ceremony in 2008 and we were grateful to present her with the Torch-Bearer Award.

As we go through our lives may we think about harmony and peace everyday and include it in every little action of ours, every word we say, every thought we think. This Harmony Run keeps reminding us and perpetuating the need to work together in peace and harmony in this world.

Billie Jean King

Hon. Mari Alkitiri, First Prime Minister, Timor-Leste

His Excellency Dr. Mari Alkatiri was the first Prime Minister Alkitiri of Timor Leste. He and a few other great national leaders started the independence movement for Timor Leste and founded FRETILIN. Through his tireless dedication, the world began to hear about the Timorese Leste people’s devastating sufferings and to take action.

Hon. Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister, Timor-Leste

His Excellency Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão was the great leader of the people of Timor Leste during their quest for independence. As military head of FALANTIL he led the resistance with boundless courage and charisma. Now as Prime Minister his all-inclusive leadership is guiding Timor Leste to new and unimaginable heights.

Prime Minister Gusmão graciously accepted the Torch-Bearer award and encouraged us to continue with Sri Chinmoy's important and pioneering efforts to share a message of peace.

We celebrate this occasion recalling Sri Chinmoy's entire life dedicated to promoting peace and the idea that mankind consolidates itself on the basis of our unity. I feel honored by being awarded such a peace medal. It is my honor and my responsibility to also promote peace and love in our territory. I am confident that all of us dreamt of a world where there is stability. We wish to keep away from anything that is prejudicial to our common vision insofar as the future of this country and the life of its people are concerned.

Xanana Gusmão

Wasfia Nazreen

Wasfia is an extremely dynamic and inspirational woman. From an early age she has been passionate about working for humanitarian causes. In 2011, to celebrate 40 years of Bangladeshi independence, Wasfia launched the “Bangladesh on Seven Summits” Campaign. For the campaign she has climbed each of the six of seven continental summits to mark 40 years of women’s progress in Bangladesh.

Wasfia established the Ösel Foundation set to launch later this year. Ösel is a Tibetan word which means "Clarity" or "Luminosity" implying the intrinsic purity that lies within each of us. The foundation is aimed to empower marginalized adolescent girls through an alternative educational curriculum based in the outdoors.

Here is a video of Wasfia being interviewed by the BBC.

President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Danilo Türk

On May 14 2009 at the President's Palace in Ljubljana we met with President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Danilo Türk and had the honor of presenting him with the Torch-Bearer Award.

Hakuhō Shō Yokozuna

In Tokyo, Japan on April 22, 2010 at the Miyagino Sumo Stable we were able to present the current reigning Sumo Yokazuna Hakuhō Shō with the Torch-Bearer Award.

Speaker of the Parliament of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic

Belgrade, Serbia, July 7th 2010: we were honored to present Prof. Dr. Slavica Đjukić Dejanović, the Speaker of Parliament, with the Torch Bearer Award.

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