The James Parks Morton Interfaith Award

What is James Parks Morton Interfaith Award?

The James Parks Morton Interfaith Award, named in tribute of The Interfaith Center of New York’s founder and active board member, recognizes individuals or organizations that exemplify an outstanding commitment to promoting human development and peace — values shared by the world’s great religious traditions.  A thorough vetting process is conducted of nominated candidates taking into account their lifetime achievements and contributions towards increasing respect and mutual understanding among people of different faiths, ethnicities, and cultural traditions.

The Award is bestowed upon one or more honorees at a gala benefit dinner for ICNY. Prestigious past honorees include, President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hon. Judith Kaye, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, and more.

Over 250 faith leaders, friends, and supporters attend the gala that usually takes place in late spring at an elegant New York based venue.  Adding to the festive spirit are well-known actors or journalists serving as the Master of Ceremonies such as CBS Sunday Morning Contributor Nancy Giles, Actors Sam Waterston and Richard Gere and more. The evening begins with an abundance of hors d’oeuvres and an open premium bar, followed by a three-course epicurean feast with wine pairings and live entertainment.

Upon receipt of the 2011 Interfaith Award, Internationally Acclaimed Musician Wynton Marsalis, described the award as “beautiful and embodies the Interfaith Center’s identity:  gritty, sturdy, and elegant”.

Award Recipients


Awardees have just been announced.  Info and tickets available here.


Bob Abernethy, Executive Editor and Host of PBS/Thirteen’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Promise for the Future Award:

James Venturi, Urban Strategist


The Honorable Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the United States, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Peter L. Zimroth, Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter LLP; Director, Center on Civil Justice, NYU Law School

Mrs. Gaetana Enders, Humanitarian

His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda (posthumous), Interfaith Visionary; Founder, Integral Yoga International


Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian, Veteran Civil Rights Activist & Colleague of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bill Moyers, Host, PBS Bill Moyers Journal

Judith Moyers, CEO, Public Affairs Television

Russell Simmons, Chairman, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, Vice President, Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque & Past President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious


Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Abigail Disney, Philanthropist and Filmmaker


Wynton Marsalis, Composer and Musician


Philip Glass, Composer and Musician


Thomas Cahill, Author
The Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York


Dr. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Foundation

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Rabbi of Jewish Community in the Hague and Dutch Interfaith Leader

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Spiritual Leader of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism


Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Environmental Human Rights Interfaith Leader

Rev. Kyotaro Deguchi, Japanese and Global Shinto Interfaith Leader

Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer-Prize winning Op-Ed columnist and Global Human Rights Advocate

Steven Rockefeller, Educator and Global Environmentalist; creator of The Earth Charter

Carl Sagan, Posthumous award for pioneering work in astronomy, the environment, and interfaith activites

Paul Winter, Environmental Musician


The Hon. Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA AND 2005 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Richard Gere, Human Rights Activist

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and his wife, Daisy Khan, Founders American Society for Muslim Advancement

Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), Spiritual Leader and Humanitarian from southern India


No award, instead there was a celebration of The Very Rev. James Parks Morton’s 75th birthday


Santiago and Robertina Calatrava, Spanish Architect and his wife/administrator/lawyer

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Actors and Civil Rights Activists

Judge Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muslim Judge, Human Rights Activist

Philippe Petit and his partner Kathy O’ Donnell, World Trade Center High Wire Walker


Daniel and Nina Libeskind, Architects and Winners of the Master Plan Design for Ground Zero

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, former Archbishop of Southern Africa


Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

Alan Slifka, Interfaith Philanthropist

James Carroll, Author


H. H. the Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ravi Shankar, Musician and Peace Activist