National Conflict Resolution Center to honor peacemakers

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SAN DIEGO — The National Conflict Resolution Center Saturday will honor individuals and organizations that have championed conflict resolution at the 30th annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina.

San Diego Gas & Electric Chairman Jessie Knight Jr., who is also former executive vice president of Sempra Energy, will emcee this year’s event, themed “There Is A Solution.”

More than 700 guests are expected to attend the dinner, which will include a three-course meal, honoree speeches, a “Raise the Paddle” fundraiser and keynote address from WNBA President Lisa Borders, a former Atlanta City Council president who co-founded No Labels, an organization that combats partisan dysfunction and is the NCRC’s National Peacemaker honoree.

San Diego Padres Managing Partner Peter Seidler and restaurateur Dan Shea will receive Philanthropy in Peacemaking awards for their efforts raising housing tents for the homeless.

Four “Community Heroes” will be honored for benefiting their communities through a diverse range of programs related to racial justice, affordable housing, immigration and environmental justice, according to the NCRC. They are: Be There San Diego Director Elizabeth Bustos, Southern California Immigration Project Founder Elizabeth Lopez, Environmental Health Coalition Executive Director Diane Takvorian and Anne Wilson, senior vice president of housing and real estate development for Community HousingWorks.

Be There San Diego advocates for universal health care; the Southern California Immigration Project provides free or low-cost legal services to asylum seeking-immigrants; Takvorian supports healthy, sustainable lifestyles for low-income San Diegans; and Wilson recently oversaw construction of North Park Senior Apartments, San Diego’s first LGBT-friendly affordable housing community.

The NCRC’s first National Peacemaker Award was given in 2005 to Ruth and Judea Pearl for their efforts to avoid the types of cultural conflicts that led to the 2002 death of their son, Daniel. The Wall Street Journal reporter, who grew up in Encino, was 38 when he was abducted in Pakistan by Islamic rebels who videotaped his execution.

Past honorees include University of California President Janet Napolitano, Congressman John Lewis, former presidential adviser David Gergen and actor Richard Dreyfuss.

The award is given in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a Birmingham High School graduate who was kidnapped and killed by Islamic radicals in Pakistan in 2002.

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