Murad was born in the village of Kocho in Sinjar District, Iraq, populated mostly by Yazidi people. Her family, of the Yazidi minority, were farmers. Murad is the founder of Nadia’s Initiative, an organization dedicated to “helping women and children victimized by genocides, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities”. In 2016, Murad was appointed as the first-ever Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“We must apply humble efforts to the construction of a more just and humane world… such a world is possible.”
“True peace is a profound transformation by means of the force of nonviolence that is the power of love.”
Presbyterian minister Reverend Benjamin Weir was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon, on May 8, 1984, while out walking with his wife, Carol. Members of Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group in Lebanon, held Weir for sixteen months-twelve of them in solitary confinement-along with six other Americans who were released later, including journalist Terry Anderson. Before the kidnapping, Weir had spent nearly three decades in Lebanon as a missionary and a teacher at the Near East School of Theology. In his various positions in the Presbyterian church since his release, Weir has been a voice of reconciliation and tolerance.
The foster child of a tribal chief, Nelson Mandela began his opposition to South Africa’s government while attending college. He went on to become a lawyer and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944. For two decades he led the fight against apartheid’s racist policies, until he was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in 1964. The long campaign for his release succeeded in 1990 and the newly legalized ANC elected him their president the next year. His negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk, which won them the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, led to South Africa’s first multiracial presidential elections in 1994, which Mandela won. He retired in 1999.
Harry Wu spent nineteen years in Chinese prison camps during the 1960s and 1970s. He was arrested and detained again for sixty-six days in 1995 at the Chinese border while on a fact-finding mission. He is executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation in Milpitas, California, and has held research positions at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. He has built a database of information on more than eleven hundred prisons and concentration camps of the Chinese gulag system, or “Laogai,” which literally means “reform through labor.” He is the author of two autobiographical books.