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Father Dominique Pire

Dominican friar, The Nobel Peace Prize in 1958 (1910-1969) Father Dominique Pire was born in Leffe (near Dinant) and became a Dominican monk in 1932. He completed a degree in Theology and Political Science and then joined the community at La Sarte Abbey near Huy, where he began working with the socially-disadvantaged. He joined the Resistance during the Second World War, and helped many Allied airmen escape to the UK, for which he was decorated. In 1949, he founded Aide Aux Personnes Déplacées a charity which gave practical help to war refugees and displaced people, and which built a series of new villages in Germany and Austria to house them and help their re-insertion into society. He attracted some criticism from the Catholic hierarchy for refusing to use his charity for Christian evangelism. His charitable work was recognised in 1958 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Father Pire went on to found the Université de la Paix (which invites future world leaders to learn dispute-resolution and mediation techniques) and the Iles de la Paix (which helps rural communities in developing countries through development projects). Perhaps his greatest legacy is that all of these charities are continuing their work today.

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