The 2015 Olof Palme Prize is awarded to the Palestinian Pastor Dr. Mitri Raheb
The 2015 Olof Palme Prize is awarded to the Palestinian Pastor Dr. Mitri Raheb, and the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, for their courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterized by peaceful coexistence and equality for all. By their work they both give a ray of hope to a conflict that has plagued and continues to plague millions of people and to endanger world peace.
As preacher and Pastor in the Lutheran church, Mitri Raheb sends a clear message to the young generation of Palestinians: “We want you to live, not die, for Palestine.” In a Bethlehem confined on three sides by the walls of the occupying Israeli power, and with Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture that he founded and his innovative artistic education in film, art, and drama, Raheb has made it possible for young people to investigate their Palestinian identity, to nurture beauty, and to invest in a culture of life as tools for a creative resistance against suffocating confinement and towards nation building.
Gideon Levy is working for peace and reconciliation by means of a passionate search for truth and a fearless faith in the victory of reason in a region infested by prejudice and violence, propaganda and disinformation. With parents who were forced to emigrate from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and as a true patriot, he has made reconciliation with the Palestinian people the mission of his life. Constantly criticized, and having his life threatened, Gideon Levy wants to remind us of Israel’s moral blindness to the consequences of war and occupation, which he sees as a danger to Israel itself.
Long engaged in local, regional, and international efforts on behalf of Palestine, Rev. Dr. Raheb serves as President of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem, as well as president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He is author of several books most recently Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes (Orbis, 2013). The book seeks to rediscover the original imperial contexts of the biblical texts—including the Gospels—and to bring this reading into dialogue with the current context of Palestine.
Olof Palme was a Swedish Social Democratic politician, statesman and prime minister. Palme led the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) from 1969 until his assassination in 1986, and was a two-term Prime Minister of Sweden. A pivotal, renowned, and polarizing figure domestically as well as in international politics since the 1960s, Palme was steadfast in his non-alignment policy towards the superpowers, accompanied by support for numerous third world liberation movements following decolonization including, most controversially, economic and vocal support for a number of Third World governments which were guilty of gross violations of human rights.He also challenged imperialist ambitions and authoritarian regimes.
The Board of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund selects recipients of the annual Olof Palme Prize for outstanding achievement in the spirit of Swedish statesman Olof Palme (1927-1986). Previous recipients include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and Amnesty International. The Prize consists of a diploma and $75,000 and will be awarded in a ceremony in Stockholm on January 29th.