Peace Writing Prize Winner Announced

The Wilson Center for Spiritual Exploration & Multifaith Dialogue is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize. Dorothy Clarke Wilson of Orono, Maine was an internationally known peacemaker who was committed to writing on social issues and world peace.  To encourage today’s University of Maine students to share in the commitment, Dorothy Clarke Wilson established a $500 annual award for the most compelling written work on a peace related topic. This competition is open to all University of Maine students. This year’s winner is Aliya Uteuova.

The topic for the 2018 writing prize focused on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years after his death. Specifically, applicants were asked to reflect on the below quote, taken from the speech Dr. King gave the night before his assassination, as well as the following questions:

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from “I’ve Been To The Mountain Top,” April 3, 1968

  • Fifty years after Dr. King’s death, do you think America is true to what our Founding Fathers put on paper?  Why or why not?
  • The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Do you believe the First Amendment provides a solid foundation for a peaceful society? Why or why not?
  • What would you like to see happen in America to aid our nation in fully embodying the ideals about which Dr. King spoke?
  • How are Dr. King’s words relevant in today’s world and to your own life?

Uteuova’s winning submission was a poem entitled, “Sage.” Uteuova is a senior at the University of Maine studying Political Science and Journalism. She will read her winning piece at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration on January 15, 2018, sponsored by the Greater Bangor NAACP and the University of Maine Division of Student Life.

Four honorable mentions were selected by the committee as well: Maggie Aydlett, Emma Brickman, Sheldon Green, and Kathryn Klebon.

The mission of the Wilson Center is to create progressive, ecumenical, and multifaith dialogue for the University of Maine community and through worship, study, and service, to work for social justice, honor diversity, and offer opportunities for spiritual growth.