Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before Congress in April. Amr Alfiky/Pool via REUTERS

The San Diego-based National Conflict Resolution Center will present its 2021 National Peacemaker Award on Saturday to U.S. infections disease authority Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, who has guided Americans daily amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be one of six recipients during the center’s 33rd annual awards ceremony.

The awards will be presented in a free, virtual program beginning at 6:50 p.m. on May 15, with Dr. Wilma Wooten, the San Diego County Public Health Officer, introducing Fauci.

The event is intended to spotlight the importance of civility, peacemaking and social justice in a world filled with conflict — especially after a year of historic uncertainty and unrest.

In addition to Fauci, awards will be presented to three local philanthropic leaders and two teenagers who led a fight against racism in Poway schools.

As the pandemic upended normal life, the San Diego Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation, and Rancho Santa Fe Community Foundation worked to raise nearly $70 million to address a myriad of social needs. Receiving Philanthropy in Peacemaking Awards for their leadership in this effort are foundation CEOs Mark Stuart, Beth Sirull and Christy Wilson.

Local Peacemaker Awards will go to teenage sisters Nene and Ekene Okolo, who started an Instagram account called Black in PUSD, where they invited Poway Unified students and alumni of color to share what it was like for them at school. They received 1,200 anonymous submissions detailing racist incidents, spurring an anti-racism movement at Poway Unified.

“For more than a year now, our lives have been turned upside-down by a global pandemic and political unrest worldwide, but our peacemaker honorees have worked tirelessly to help our society overcome its divisions and unite toward a common goal,” said National Conflict Resolution Center President Steven Dinkin. “A unique year requires a unique event, and we are thrilled to be honoring this year’s awardees for all of their work to help our world heal and find a path forward.” 

Donations in connection with the event will support the center’s work to unite people, cultures, and organizations through civility and inclusive communication.

More information and registration for the free event are available online.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.