Hessian Peace Prize 2023

The Canadian-Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver will be posthumously awarded the Hessian Peace Prize of the Albert Osswald Foundation for the year 2023 in recognition of her many years of commitment to women's rights, social justice and the peace process in Israel. This was announced on May 27, 2024 by Parlia­ment President Astrid Wallmann together with former Minister of State Karl Starzacher, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hessian Peace Prize and former President of the State Parlia­ment, and Board of Trustees member Nicole Deitelhoff.

In its state­ment, the jury particularly highlighted Silver's commitment to the coexistence of Jews and Palestinians through the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development and the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation. These initiatives are dedicated to intercultural understanding and sustainable peace in the region.

Vivian Silver grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. In 1974, she moved with her husband and two sons to Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza Strip. In 1998, Silver became the executive director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Develop­ment, a non-govern­mental organization based in Beersheva, which is committed to the coexistence of Jews and Palestinians and has over 45,000 members. In 2014, she was one of the founders of the women's peace initiative Women Wage Peace. When Hamas stormed the settlement of Be'eri, not far from the Gaza border, on October 7, 2023 and carried out a massacre there, Vivian Silver was among the victims.

Vivian Silver's previous honors include the “Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East”, which she received in 2010 together with Amal Elsana Alh'jooj for founding the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation. In 2019, the peace initiative Women Wages Peace, which she co-founded, was awarded the Bremen Peace Prize.

This year's award to the murdered Vivian Silver not only honors her life's work. The award also em­phasizes the funda­mental importance of inclusive peace efforts and sends a signal for the urgency of dialogue and cooperation. Silver's commit­ment thus becomes an example of the lasting impact of striving for peace and justice. 

The Hessian Peace Prize is endowed with 25,000 euros. The award ceremony will take place on July 1, 2024 in the Hessian State Parliament. Vivian Silver's son Yonatan Zeigen will accept the award on behalf of his murdered mother.

To the press release of the Hessian State Parliament (in German)