The Dayton Peace Accords 25th Anniversary Committee has selected Dayton native and former U.S. Congressman and Ambassador, Tony Hall as the Dayton Peace Prize recipient for 2020.
The Dayton Peace Prize was established in 1999 to recognize individuals who, through individual or organizational actions and deeds, impact humanity in a positive way by advocating for peace, health, hunger, or other humanitarian objectives.
November 21st is the 25th anniversary to-the-day of the initialing of the Dayton Peace Accord in the Hope Hotel ballroom at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The 1995 negotiations were conducted by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by Wright Patterson Air Force Base from October 31st until the initialing on November 21st, ending hostilities that had ravaged the Bosnian region with the loss of an estimated 100,000 lives.
Ambassador Hall will be one of only six people to be awarded the prize since the community led anniversary committee was founded in 1996. Ambassador Hall joins this distinguished group which includes President Bill Clinton, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Hit ‘play’ to hear Ambassador Hall’s thoughts on this honor:
Ambassador Hall was our Congressman representing Dayton at the time of the Dayton Peace Accord. When asked about his connection to the Peace Accords he mentioned that he wasn’t directly involved. But at that time, many of the people in Sarajevo were starving and each time a food convoy would try to deliver food, the drivers were being shot down. Hall arranged a meeting with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić (who was later convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) to discuss humanitarian issues and was able to negotiate a one day opening to guarantee the safety of aid convoys using a supply route between Serb-controlled Kiseljak and the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
In talking about the Peace Prize Hall shared “it’s a wonderful award, Dayton is not a big city, but this is a big award. When he travels the world and mentions he’s from Dayton, people know The Dayton Peace Accord and the city that helped negotiate peace over war. This is a great award and I am totally wowed to receive it.”
Hall was chairman of a Hunger Over Seas committee in Congress and in 1984 he went on a trip abroad. He witnessed 24 children starving to death in Ethiopia. That experience changed his life. Since then, he has become one of the world’s leading advocates for ending hunger and improving human rights in America and around the world.
While in Congress, Ambassador Tony Hall fasted for 22 days to call attention to hunger, leading the World Bank to invest $100 million towards reducing hunger. After Congress, he was appointed United Nation’s Ambassador for Food and Agriculture. He has personally worked with those experiencing hunger in more than 100 countries, learning from Mother Teresa in Calcutta, “to go back home and to do the thing that is in front of you and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same.” Hall says “there are 48 million people in America that are hungry, women, children, senior citizens. We need to help them.”
And help he has. In 2015 he founded the Hall Hunger Initiative (HHI) to bring solutions to food deserts and local hunger challenges. Hall says he’s often the connector between initiatives and fundraising. He’s worked with projects like the House of Bread and Miami Valley Meals. HHI’s largest support project is also the community’s most significant food access effort, Gem City Market. Hall served as the chair of fundraising, with a goal to raise $4.2 million. Currently they’ve raised over $5 million. His goal is to make Dayton hunger free- a place where nobody will ever go to bed hungry again.
Ambassador Hall has been nominated 3 times for a Nobel Peace Prize, first by the US Congress, then by the South Korean Congress and the Prime Minister of Japan. He continues to work for the poor, the hungry and the underprivileged.