MF President Recognized with Award from International Organization

Dale Peterson, President and Founder of the Mwebaza Foundation, recently accepted an award from People to People International (PtPI).  Peterson received PtPI’s “School and Classroom Community Service Project Award” for his work through the Mwebaza Foundation.  The award was presented at PtPI’s Global Youth Forum in Kansas City on November 12.

The award is given to a teacher who has actively worked to develop student cross-cultural understandings through a connection with a foreign school.  Peterson fostered a friendship between his first grade class and Mwebaza School in Uganda.  He was originally connected to Mwebaza School through PtPI’s School Program.  The international friendship that resulted eventually transformed into the Mwebaza Foundation, and now involves three Colorado schools, three African schools, and hundreds of children on two continents.  In presenting the award to Peterson, PtPI School and Classroom Program Coordinator, Paige Badgett, acknowledged that the Mwebaza Foundation has gone well beyond student cultural interaction, but has additionally encouraged and equipped students at its Colorado partner schools to work to improve conditions at their African partner schools.

Peterson was also acknowledged at the ceremony by Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO of PtPI and granddaughter of the founder of PtPI, President Dwight Eisenhower.

In his acceptance speech, Peterson recognized the corresponding contributions of his Ugandan colleague, Namatovu Catherine, the headmistress of Mwebaza School.  He expressed agreement with PtPI’s philosophy that true, sustainable change can only happen if those involved really take the time to develop meaningful relationships with one another.

The Global Youth Forum involved over 100 youth from many different countries, learning communication and teamwork skills while developing cultural sensitivity through formal and informal interaction with one another.  Ms. Eisenhower ended the Global Youth Forum by urging those present to strive to make a difference in the world, even if it seems that one’s efforts are in vain.  She concluded her speech with this powerful quote from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Peterson and the Mwebaza Foundation are delighted to be recognized by such an established, respected, and dedicated organization as People to People International.