Montréal, September 20, 2017 – On the eve of the International Day of Peace, the YMCA awarded a Peace Medal to Maestro Kent Nagano and six other exceptional laureates who make our society more peaceful. Presented by Desjardins and hosted by Geneviève Borne, the gala dinner brought together more than 400 people. The Mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre, attended the event, which also marked the YMCAs of Québec’s 165th anniversary.
“For 165 years now, the YMCA has put all of its heart and energy into creating a positive environment that values each individual—particularly youth—and that promotes empathy and respect for diversity. This has been our responsibility and vision for peace. Since 1987, we have awarded Peace Medals to exceptional individuals to recognize their efforts towards making our communities more peaceful. We are proud to celebrate today 30 years of working together for peace,” said the President and CEO of the YMCAs of Québec, Stéphane Vaillancourt.
Benefits from the gala dinner will go towards helping young people in YMCA TeenZones and school success programs succeed in school and in life.
“Congratulations to all the laureates and nominees of the 30th edition of the Peace Medals. Through their efforts and vision, they improve the daily lives and future of thousands of youth. Their achievements have given life to the spirit of cooperation, so we may together build stronger and more unified communities. The evening was a great success, which is a testament to the spirit of sharing and support behind our communities and we can be proud of it,” said the President of the YMCAs of Québec Foundation, Gregory Chrispin, Executive Vice-President, Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, Desjardins.
A Selection Committee chaired by Brian Bronfman, President of the Peace Grantmakers Network, chose the 2017 laureates.
Honorary Laureate – Kent Nagano
The Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since 2006, Kent Nagano has established a wordwide reputation as one of the most insightful and visionary interpreters of both the symphonic and operatic repertoire. He has enjoyed an international career, from Munich to Göteborg and Hamburg to Montréal. Maestro Nagano was named Commander of the Ordre de Montréal, Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, and decorated with the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal. A devoted peacemaker, Kent Nagano travels the world to share his love of music.
Youth Peacemaker – Young ambassadors of the No Hate Speech Movement
Launched in Europe in 2013, the No Hate Speech Movement has now reached Québec. This initiative mobilizes youth and helps them learn how to become active, critical and united cyber citizens. The movement also provides educators, teachers and parents with educational resources that allow them to organize public awareness campaigns and build a climate of trust and respect.
Volunteer Peacemaker – Laurent Champagne
Coordinator of the Aumônerie communautaire de Montréal, Laurent Champagne also works at the Centre de jour René-Gagnon. He helps ex-offenders reintegrate into their community and society by organizing discussion groups and offering his support. Laurent Champagne assists these people with great openness, care and humanity so that they may regain their dignity.
Local Peace Initiative – YWCA Montreal Youth Services
Since its founding in 1875, the YWCA Montreal has combatted all forms of violence against women. Through its many programs and tools, the Women’s Y makes our communities safer for women. Its Youth Services aim to combat the hypersexualization of society, denounce cyberbullying and promote peaceful behaviour and equal relationships among young people.
International Peace Initiative – Radio Dodo
Created by Brigitte Alepin and sponsored by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Radio-Dodo was launched January 1, 2017. It is a bilingual (French and Arabic) broadcast for 3- to 7-year-old Syrian children in battlegrounds and refugee camps with songs and stories to help them forget the horrors of war.
Corporate Peace Initiative – Destination centre-ville
The Société de développement commercial (SDC) Destination centre-ville is a non-profit organization that brings together more than 8,000 businesses in Montréal. In the last twenty years, it has invested in initiatives that promote harmonious living in the area. In fact, it supports the social reintegration of sixty people a year through its cleaning crew, which provides light cleaning and embellishment services for the streets in the sector. Destination centre-ville helps make downtown Montréal a place where everyone can live together in peace.
Coup de cœur – La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum
La Balade pour la Paix is an extensive public art exhibition featuring 72 works that convey a message of peace, tolerance and openness. Designed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with the support of McGill University as part of Montréal’s 375th anniversary, La Balade pour la Paix extends over a kilometre in the heart of the city along a festive route lined with the flags of some 200 countries of the world as well as the Canadian Confederation’s thirteen provinces and territories. It recalls the City of Montréal’s motto, Concordia salus, which means ‘salvation through harmony’.
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About the YMCAs of Québec
The YMCAs of Québec is a charitable organization that builds stronger communities by providing opportunities for everyone to lead fulfilling, active, healthy and engaged lives. Its 10 YMCA centres, International Language School, Residence, Camp YMCA Kanawana and its 34 service sites across the province are visited each year by more than 115,000 people. The first YMCA in North America was founded in Montréal in November 1851. The YMCAs of Québec is part of the Canadian network of 47 YMCA associations. For more information, visit ymcaquebec.org and our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The YMCAs of Québec
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