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Steward of Justice & Peace
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was born in Argentina in 1931. Trained as an architect and sculptor, he left his career in 1974 at the age of 43 to coordinate non-violent organizations and coalitions in Latin America. Esquivel began a campaign to convince the United Nations of the need for a Human Rights Commission. He sent a record of all of the breaches of human rights that his organization, Servicio Paz y Justicia, “Service, Peace and Justice Foundation," could uncover in Latin America.
In 1977, Argentinean authorities jailed Pérez Esquivel without charge, subjected him to torture and held him without trial in Buenos Aires for fourteen months. It was his third arrest in as many years, each in a different country. After his release, his movements were restricted and he was closely monitored by the police. Over time these limits were eased and he was able to visit Europe in 1980.
For his leadership in the advocacy of human rights and democracy for the people of Latin America, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980. As he said in his Nobel acceptance speech, he continues to believe in, and work for, “a change based on justice, built with love and which will bring us the most anxiously desired fruit of peace.”