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Atlantic Institute of Columbia is hosting its annual Atlantic Peace and Dialogue Award ceremony at the Palmetto Club on Sumter St. This year the speaker will be Rais Bhuiyan.

Rais Bhuiyan is a Muslim American who was the victim of a horrible hate-crime shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack. A white supremacist shot Mr. Bhuiyan in the face at point-blank range due to Anti-Islamic sentiment. Instead of seeking vengeance Rais instead got to know his attacker, eventually starting a campaign to release the gunman from death row. Now, Rais operates the World Without Hate organization which seeks to help educate people and prevent further violence.

The Atlantic Institute will be presenting Atlantic Peace and Dialogue Awards to Columbia locals who have exemplified efforts to bridge cultural and religious gaps to make South Carolina a peaceful place for all its citizens. The awardees are as follows:

Peace and Dialogue Award: Dr. Will Moreau Goins. Dr. Will Moreau Goins is the posthumous award winner of the 2018 Atlantic Institute Peace and Dialogue Award for his groundbreaking work as a national and state leader, passionate in his work to bring cultures together in love and truth. Until his untimely passing in November 2017, he served as CEO for the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina.

Media and Communications Award: Free Times. Free Times has been Columbia, South Carolina’s alternative weekly newspaper since 1987. Today, Free Times sustains a reputation for providing honest and trusted coverage of news, food, music, arts, and culture; throwing the best events in the community; and engaging an audience of diverse political views, socioeconomic statuses, races, ages, and genders.

Public and Community Service Award: Rev. Dr. Thomas A Summers. Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers, who is a United Methodist minister, has been known for his long-time commitment to the integration of social justice in his ministry. Rev. Dr. Summers was a five-year chairperson of a statewide annual public awareness event in South Carolina that was related to the critical needs of severely mentally ill persons and their families. He has participated in civil disobedience and protest of the Iraq War and also the lack of Medicaid Expansion in South Carolina.

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