Since 2001, the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, has honored notable world leaders like Nelson R. Mandela, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Coretta Scott King. But in its inaugural year, the King Chapel’s Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize—named for Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela—will be given to President Russell M. Nelson in a ceremony at Morehouse College on April 13, 2023.
According to a release published by Morehouse College, “The prize is awarded to a person who promotes peace and positive social transformation through nonviolent means. This individual uses their global leadership to affirm peace, justice, diversity, and pluralism.”
President Nelson was specifically selected as the inaugural recipient of this prize “for his global efforts in ‘abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice against any group of God’s children’ through nonviolent ways.” The release from Morehouse College about the award ceremony also cites President Nelson’s June 2020 Facebook post following the death of George Floyd.
“Let us be clear,” said President Nelson. “We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him—’black and white, bond and free, male and female,’ (2 Nephi 26:33). It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.”
The Rev. Lawrence Carter, dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse, told Church News, “President Nelson is, I believe, a role model for how Christians need to get out of three boxes—the race box, the nationality box, and the culture box—to unite the human family. With the power of his prophetic, revelational vision, he looked out across great troubles in this country and saw the chance to form an alliance [with the NAACP].”
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Notable speakers and General Authorities will be in attendance at the event, and the event will also include a virtual performance from the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. As part of the ceremony, oil portraits of President Nelson and US President Abraham Lincoln will be inducted into the Hall of Honor in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. The hall currently includes more than 150 paintings of international leaders in civil and human rights.