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Published on Feb 27, 2013
On 14 February 2013, former Uniting Church peace advocate Joy Balazo received one of the highest international church honours.
Joy came to Australia from the Philippines in the 1980s and founded the Young Ambassadors for Peace program in 2002. Over the next decade the program empowered more than a thousand young people across the Asia-Pacific to step up to become peacemakers in their troubled communities.
Over the years the Young Ambassadors for Peace workshops have been held in places like the Solomon Islands, the Indonesian island of Ambon, the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Bougainville and many others.
Joy was presented with the 2012 World Methodist Peace Award at a service in her honour at Sydney's Wesley Mission. Previous award winners include former US President Jimmy Carter (1985), Mikhail Gorbachev (1990) and Nelson Mandela (2000).
The award was presented by Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council at a ceremony presided over by the President of the Uniting Church's Assembly Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney.
"This prestigious award is a fantastic acknowledgement for Joy Balazo's work, both as a champion for peace in our region and as a peacemaking role model within the Uniting Church," said Rev. Professor Dutney.
"Joy's work is a powerful example of God's mission for reconciliation, and I look forward to honouring her this Thursday and the ongoing work of UnitingWorld to engage young people in our region in peacemaking."