1958 – Georges Pire (1910–1969), a Belgian Dominican priest, leader of the relief organisation for refugees “l’Europe du Coeur au Service du Monde”.
Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire joined the Dominican order in 1928 where he took the name Henri Dominique. He devoted his life to acting for mutual understanding in the world, eradication of poverty in developing countries and aid to refugees.
Following the war, he visited camps for refugees in Austria and decided to establish an organisation aiding displaced people. The organisation gave rise to, among other things, a so-called “sponsorship” movement in which people could send parcels and letters of encouragement to refugee families; by 1960, the organisation had 18,000 sponsors. Also, the movement established four homes for the elderly in Belgium. Another stage was to build “European Villages” outside city centres: there were seven villages established, each for around 150 people.
After winning the Nobel Prize, Pire founded an organisation called “The Heart Open to the World” whose aim was to foster international fraternity. He also created the University of Peace, a platform for meeting and discussion, as well as the World Friendships programme for pen pals and the World Sponsorships programme to support refugees in Asia and Africa, with particular focus on the education of children. Another Pire’s initiative was organising local self-help to improve the level of medical services, develop educational and recreational programmes and increase food production.