|Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr Thomas H. Smolich S.J, recipient of the 2016 CRISPAZ Peace Award, works with a higher education student at a Jesuit Refugee Service project in Malawi. (Jesuit Refugee Service)|
|"We are convinced that education helps build peace and stability and gives hope to many young refugees and displaced in the 46 countries where JRS works." — Fr. Thomas Smolich S.J.|
(San Salvador) November 28, 2016 — JRS International Director Fr. Thomas Smolich S.J., will be honored by Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ) with the CRISPAZ Peace Award on Wednesday, November 30, at an evening reception at Santa Clara University's De Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, Calif.
Inspired by the testimony of the Martyrs of El Salvador, the CRISPAZ Peace Award was established in 2009 honors particular individuals or organization each year who embody the preferential option for the poor in their work for the promotion of peace and social justice.
For more than three decades, CRISPAZ has enabled thousands of individuals, mainly from North America, to accompany the Salvadoran people in their ongoing struggle for peace rooted injustice and compassion.
Since October 2015, Fr. Smolich has been serving as the International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service.
"As human beings, we are often at the mercy of war, of nature, of governments – of forces beyond our control. For this reason, nearly 60 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, constantly moving. But for people living in motion, those who cannot take possessions can bring knowledge and change their world," he says.
"We are convinced that education helps build peace and stability and gives hope to many young refugees and displaced in the 46 countries where JRS works."
Fr. Tom Smolich speaks of education as a precious tool for refugees as well as being one of the basic human rights and of how it helps them rise up to the challenge of making a new life for themselves and making a huge difference in their individual lives.
"All of us have challenges, but the life of a typical refugee or migrant poses challenges that many of us who have not had to make that struggle can't even imagine. Being able to think, to understand what others have to say, being able to write, perhaps speak a different language – the language of the country I am going to arrive in – makes a huge difference" he adds.
Learn more about JRS education programs