Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien Receives the Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from Morehouse College

Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien Receives the Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from Morehouse College

Categories: Press Releases, Union News

The award was established to honor leaders who advance positive social change through nonviolent means. 

Gary Dorrien 2024New York, NY – Rev. Gary Dorrien – a revered theological ethicist, political theologian, historian, and Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary – was recently honored with the Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from Morehouse College. The award – established in 2023 – is presented to a person who promotes positive social transformation through nonviolent means. 

Rev. Dorrien is an apt choice for the award. For decades, he has pushed the bounds of academic research, theology, and philosophical thought to drive social progress. Thus far, he has authored 24 books and more than 300 articles on a wide array of topics – including social ethics, philosophy, theology, political economics, and social and political theory. He is particularly well-known for his trilogy of books on the Black Social Gospel tradition. 

As social critic Michael Eric Dyson wrote in 2021: “Gary Dorrien is the greatest theological ethicist of the twenty-first century, our most compelling political theologian, and one of the most gifted historians of ideas in the world.” 

The Peace Prize was part of the College of Ministers and Laity – a renowned annual conference in which clergy and laity from different backgrounds and faith traditions gather as students of Dr. King’s philosophies and ethical principles. Dorrien served as the keynote speaker at the morning and afternoon sessions of the Benjamin E. Mays Crown Forum. 

Rev. Dr. Dorrien stated, “I am deeply grateful and honored to receive this award from an institution I profoundly admire, Morehouse College. Since I have spoken twice previously at the House, I had that to prepare me for the feeling that is washing over me today. But this day tops all the others that I have experienced in my career.” 

Later Rev. Dr. Dorrien observed: “It was Morehouse that prepared Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman for their roles in the greatest story we have in this country, the civil rights movement of the King era. King and Thurman were deep-souled Christian prophets–capacious, justice-centered, interfaith, and grounded in love divine. So we return to them again and again. But our theologies that build upon King and Thurman must also be womanist and feminist and queer, abolishing domination itself.” 

In the evening, Morehouse president David Thomas, Morehouse chapel dean Lawrence E. Carter, and Yale social ethicist and Union graduate Eboni Marshall Turman presided over the awarding of the prize to Rev. Dorrien. 

“Rev. Dr. Dorrien is enormously deserving of this award. He has dedicated his entire career to the discipline of social ethics and theology. He has always done so from a social justice activist perspective, including his epic work on the Black Social Gospel movement. It is not an exaggeration to state that he is a scholar of epic and monumental importance,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. “ Leaders like Rev. Dr. Dorrien give us hope that we can create a better tomorrow.”


About Union Theological Seminary

Union Theological Seminary (UTS), founded in 1836 in New York City, is a globally recognized seminary and graduate school of theology where faith and scholarship meet to reimagine the work of justice. A beacon for social justice and progressive change, Union Theological Seminary is led by a diverse group of theologians and activist leaders. Drawing on both Christian traditions and the insights of other faiths, the institution is focused on educating leaders who can address critical issues like racial equity, criminal justice reform, income inequality, and protecting the environment. Union is led by Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the 16th President and the first woman to head the 188-year-old seminary.