Visionary of the Year
Each year, we here at the Euphrates Institute are pleased to honor those who inspire us to do this better through our annual “Euphrates Visionary of the Year” award. The Visionary of the Year is someone who “makes the impossible, possible, and the idealistic, realistic,” says Euphrates founder Janessa Gans Wilder. In 2011, we were moved by the compassionate, peaceful, spiritual vision of a Palestinian peacebuilder whom we met in Bethlehem, Sami Awad.
VISIONARY OF THE YEAR 2012
For the year of 2012-2013, we honor an Israeli from Tel Aviv, Ronny Edry, whose simple message of love to Iranians in the face of impending war, has inspired a global response.
Ronny Edry, creator of Israel Loves Iran, was the keynote speaker at Principia College’s 64th annual Public Affairs Conference in March, 2013. Click here to watch Ronny’s rousing address and acceptance of the Visionary of the Year award.
Ronny Edry, a graphic designer from Tel Aviv, Israel, is Euphrates’ Visionary of the Year 2012, and accepted his award at the PAC event at Principia College. This award is given to an individual who continues to “make the impossible, possible, and the idealistic, realistic,” and who would have ever thought it possible that Israelis and Iranians would be exchanging messages of love and peace with each other in a time of impending conflict?
In March of last year, Ronny Edry, a graphic designer, father, and husband living in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his family, was frustrated and concerned. All anyone talked about was impending war with Iran, and he wished he could do something to prevent it. One night he created and posted an image on Facebook of himself holding his daughter and waving an Israeli flag. On it was the caption, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Within 24 hours, thousands of people had shared the poster on Facebook, and Ronny started receiving messages directly from Iranians, much to his great astonishment. His heartfelt action started not only the popular online community Israel Loves Iran, but inspired a wave of response from the other side—groups like Iran Loves Israel, Palestine Loves Israel, and several others. Since March, Ronny has garnered significant media attention and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Watch his incredibly inspiring TED talk here.
Like Ronny, citizens around the world are feeling empowered to take charge of their political, economic and social futures. His message amplifies what one person can do—be authentic, pure, simple, and determined. Ronny’s everyday courage has initiated a dialogue between the peoples of two nations that the world had written off as impossible. His passion and dedication to fostering this conversation at the grassroots is a powerful example of the power of the individual to implement tangible change in our world.
When we asked Ronny how he would define sustainable peace, he responded, “It’s both individual and collective. The first part is individual: you have to see the person in front of you as a human, a person. We must stop fearing the “Other.” Once you see your enemy as a human being similar to yourself, then you understand that he doesn’t hate you as years of propaganda succeed to make you believe, and you can never go back to that blind hate. Then, collectively, you can start to know each other and you will be ready for peace.”
That’s what we’re talking about!
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