Peace & Dialogue Awards 2012


Each year, the Niagara Foundation recognizes individuals and organizations in the Chicago community who have demonstrated strong commitment to serving their community while maintaining a global mindset.

Founded in 2006, the Peace & Dialogue Awards seek to encourage leaders in the Chicago community to continue to be forces for positive change, to inspire thoughtful dialogue about the issues facing our community and our world, and to bring together the best and the brightest in the city to work together towards a more peaceful future.

Niagara Foundation annually awards individuals and organizations who have contributed their time, energy, leadership, and dedication to the cause of dialog, peace, understanding, and community service on a special program called “Niagara Peace & Dialogue Awards”.

Monday, May 21, 2012

6:30 – 9:00 PM
Dinner & Awards Ceremony

University Club of Chicago
76 E Monroe St  Chicago, IL 60603

Dinner & Awards Ceremony – Cathedrall Hall – 9th Floor

Niagara Commitment Award: Anne Pramaggiore
President & CEO, ComEd

Anne Pramaggiore is president and CEO of ComEd, which has 5,700 employees and revenues of approximately $6.1 billion. ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation.

Niagara Media Award: WTTW 11, Channel 11
Received by Dan Schmidt, President and CEO Window to the World Communications, Inc.

Dan Schmidt is President and CEO of Window to the World Communications, Inc., a $48 million non-profit public media institution comprised of WTTW11, 98.7WFMT,,, as well as WTTWN, WTTW’s National Production arm, and the WFMT Radio Networks.

Niagara Global Vision Award: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Received by Deborah F. Rutter, President of Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Deborah F. Rutter joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association as president in August 2003. In this role, she oversees the operations of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Center Presents, The Institute for Learning, Access and Training, including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, as well as the Symphony Center facility.

Fethullah Gulen
Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, and poet

M. Fethullah Gulen was born in the small village of Korucuk, in Erzurum Province, Eastern Turkey, in November 1938. Known by his simple and austere life style, Mr. Gulen has been from his earliest years a gifted Islamic scholar and thinker, and a creative writer and poet. His father taught him Arabic, and initiated in him his profound love of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his Companions. Later he continued his studies under the guidance of some of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Eastern Turkey. He received further training in the religious sciences.

Mr. Gulen, so distinguished himself that he was asked to begin teaching when he was only fifteen. He did so while continuing his studies in the religious sciences. Blessed with extraordinary oratory skills, even at young age, Gulen was recognized as one of the more accomplished Islamic preachers in the early 1950s, mentioned in the same breath with some of the more learned scholars, many years his senior, in Eastern Anatolia. Gulen devoted his life trying to solve society’s ills and spiritual sufferings, and inspired the establishment of many charitable organizations to serve the welfare of the underprivileged. He published a number of well-known books, most of which remain on the best seller list in Turkey, and have also been translated into English. These include The Infinite Light, Questions, Towards the Lost Paradise, and Truth through Colors. At a time when humanity is in a desperate need of leaders and role models, we find a true innovator and an inspirational leader as well as a deeply good man in M. Fethullah Gulen.

When he retired from formal teaching studies in 1980 he had inspired a whole generation of young students, many of whom are leaders in their communities today and of course, Niagara Foundation itself, especially they are the purpose of this evening, all based upon the work of this man

Pat Quinn
Governor, Illinois

Richard J. Durbin
US Senator

Jesse White
Secretary of State, Illinois

Aaron Schock
Member of Congress

Michael J. Madigan
Speaker, House of Representatives, Illinois

Jan Sckakowsky
Member of Congress

Luis V. Gutierrez
Member of Congress

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.