Founded by Yoko Ono in honor of the peace activism of John Lennon, the $50,000 award is given to two recipients every two years. Past winners have included investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, Israeli artist Zvi Goldstein and Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah. The Center for Constitutional Rights will be honored alongside Doctors Without Borders, the first organizations to receive the award.

Michael Ratner Acceptance speech.

Ms. Ono chose The Center for Constitutional Rights for its ‘tireless’ work to establish a ‘more peaceful’ world, particularly its 2004 Supreme Court victory in Rasul v. Bush, which established that detainees held at Guantánamo Bay were still entitled to the right of habeas corpus. That right is a vital check on the power of the President to unilaterally declare anyone anywhere in the world an ‘enemy combatant’ and, in the case of non-U.S. citizens, detain them indefinitely without access to a court of law.


Lennon Ono peace grants awarded

John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono is to award two $50,000 (£27,000) peace grants on the late Beatle’s birthday.
Ono is to present the awards to the global medical group Medecins Sans Frontieres and rights campaigners the Center for Constitutional Rights.

They worked “selflessly and tirelessly towards establishing a more peaceful planet”, Ono told Reuters news agency.

The Lennon Ono Grant for Peace was established in 2002.

Lennon, murdered in 1980, would have been 66 on Monday.

The grants are to be presented at Hofdi House, Reykjavik, the famous site of a summit in 1986 between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Ono said the organisations being honoured “look beyond today’s conflicts and destruction and envision a positive future for your society”.

Previous grant recipients include Mordechai Vanunu, the scientist jailed for 18 years in Israel for revealing nuclear secrets, and Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh.

Press release (September 9th 2006)

Legendary artist, musician and peace advocate, Yoko Ono, announced today she will be holding two events in Iceland on October 9th to promote peace throughout the world. On this highly anticipated date, which is the birthday of her late husband John Lennon, she will award the LennonOno Grant for Peace and will initiate the ceremony for the dedicated site of the IMAGINE PEACE Tower.

The LennonOno Grant For Peace, will be awarded during a private ceremony at the historic Höfdi House, in the city of Reykjavík. The two $50,000 grants will be given to the international medical humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the non-profit legal and educational organization, Center for Constitutional Rights for their global commitment to peace, truth and human rights.

In recognition of this year’s grant recipients Ms Ono states, “These two groups look beyond today’s conflicts and destruction and envision a positive future for our society, while working selflessly and tirelessly towards establishing a more peaceful environment for our planet. They are strong representatives of the many groups who are working in the same direction, today. They need and deserve all of our support and respect.

The IMAGINE PEACE Tower, which was envisioned by Ms Ono over 40 years ago, has plans to be constructed in Reykjavík. Through the collective efforts of the Reykjavík Art Museum and the City of Reykjavík the dedication of the site for this tower will be held on the picturesque Icelandic island of Videy. The base of the IMAGINE PEACE Tower will be filled with prayers and wishes from people of all nations and will serve as a beacon of light for all people who dream of world peace.

“Each one of us was born at this time, not by chance, but to fulfill a mission. Our work is not yet done. I know that John’s spirit will be joining us on that day, October 9th, in Reykjavík and I look forward to seeing you there to celebrate this exciting day.

WAR IS OVER, if you want it. I love you.

– yoko ono

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
Médecins Sans Frontiéres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters. From Guatemala to Zimbabwe, the MSF extends its efforts in over 70 countries worldwide.

Center For Constitutional Rights
The Center for Constitutional Rights has continually been at the core of the most noted cases involving the protection of human civil rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Noted for their 2004 victory in the infamous Guatánamo cases in the Supreme Court, the CCR further commits itself to cases involving International Human Rights, Racial and Social Economic Justice, Civil Liberties; Government Misconduct and Human Rights after September 11th.

The LennonOno Grant For Peace
Four years ago, the LennonOno Grant For Peace was created as a way to promote peace, truth and humanity in the world, and to help people who promote these values to continue their work. This year, Ms Ono has changed the ceremony’s venue from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to Reykjavik, after discovering the very unique beauty of this Nordic country. Past Grant For Peace recipients have been, Israeli artist Zvi Goldstein, Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah, Israeli nuclear inspector Mordechai Vanunu and renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. While future grants may be given to peace activists, artists or other deserving individuals, Ms. Ono specified, that the LennonOno Grant For Peace will always focus on issues of healing, humanity and support for a more peaceful world.”