Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jean Vanier wins $2.1 million prize for 'advocacy of belonging'

Canadian humanist Jean Vanier is the 2015 winner of the Templeton Prize, a $2.1 million award for his work bringing adults with and without intellectual disabilities together to live and work as peers in 147 L'Arche communities around the world.

The Templeton Prize, established by the late American financier and philanthropist John Templeton, recognizes someone who's contributed to affirming life's spiritual dimension, through insight, discovery or practical works.

"Isn't it vital that the culture of winning so common in our societies today, be transformed?" Vanier said in thanking the judges. "A terrible rift is created between winners and losers, between the so-called normal and the so-called abnormal, between the rich and the poor."

Vanier said that the people with intellectual disabilities he's lived with for 50 years "have taught me more than all those teachers and professors in schools and universities that I have attended. They have taught me about what it means to be human."

In an interview with BLOOM in 2013, Vanier said: "We need to understand that our treasure is not in our power, but in the deep acceptance of who we are, and who we are is different but we are all people. If we try to be who we are not, that tension will someday explode."

Read Vanier's acceptance speech.


Thank you for posting this, Louise! I've shared it on Facebook. I just love this man - and his acceptance speech was just phenomenal.