Recognized for contributions to cross-cultural relations in Denver community, Peter A. Vogel, founder and managing director of CulturePrep Inc., a leading cross-cultural relations firm, recently received The School Mediation Center’s 2003 Peacebuilder of the Year award.

The award was presented at the 12th annual “Violence Prevention in School Communities” conference in Denver by The School Mediation Center, a Boulder-based organization that teaches conflict resolution and anti-bullying skills in schools across the nation.

“The Peacebuilder of the Year award was created to recognize people in schools, who are actively working to create peaceable, non-violent school environments,” said Brooke Goering, Conference Co-coordinator. “Standing up against prejudice and discrimination is daily work in our schools and Vogel is helping to create effective communication between students in the classroom, on the playground and in their neighborhoods.”

Marilynn Allen, principal of East Elementary School adds, ” Our students have developed an awareness of children and their needs not only locally but also internationally because of Mr. Vogel’s commitment and enthusiasm for making a difference in this society.”

Vogel was nominated after the successful Sister School pilot program with East Elementary in Littleton and Naama Elementary in Mityana, Uganda East-Africa launched during the 2002-2003 school year. The program included student participation from both schools educating each other on each culture through letters, videos and other activities. East Elementary students also raised funds in order to donate school supplies to the children at Naama Elementary. The program was finalized with a January trip to Naama, facilitated by Vogel and CulturePrep, to deliver all of the goods and supplies collected in the fall.

“It was a privilege to partner with the schools and experience the cross-continent friendships with the children,” says Vogel. “Both East and Naama students were encouraged to feel safe to relate to other kids, by finding what makes them similar and appreciating what makes them different. It was a tremendous learning time for all of us involved in the project.”

After working with schools, businesses and communities from around the world to advance cross-cultural relationships since 1988, CulturePrep is using its Safe to Relate program in the Littleton school district, the Rock House Christian Youth Center in Idaho Springs, and others, to teach and incorporate how to understand, work together and become unified with other cultures and religions.

“CulturePrep’s goal is to make a positive impact regarding cultural boundaries and differences in order to promote diversity-friendly environments,” said Vogel. “The Peacebuilder of the Year award is an honor and I hope this will open up more doors to share the message of reconciliation.”