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Chapman awards Schweitzer honor to local aid group

August 27, 2010

 A group dedicated to refugee aid and the healing of communities torn apart by war has been awarded Chapman University’s 2010 Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence.

Concern America, an international development organization that provides long-term, community-based development and support to economically impoverished communities throughout the world, was presented the $2,500 award at the university’s Opening Convocation on Wednesday, Aug. 25. The Award of Excellence has been given by the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University since 1982 to an individual or organization that exemplifies Dr. Schweitzer’s ethic of reverence for life and his dedication to service.

“It’s a huge honor for Concern America to be acknowledged as the recipient of the Schweitzer Award of Excellence,” says Marianne Loewe, executive director of the 38-year-old organization based in Santa Ana.

A health professional, center, trained by Concern America, works with children in Columbia. At right is a Concern America physician's assistant. Photo/ Concern America

Concern America works in a non-political capacity in regions and countries where the population is still deeply divided in the wake of conflict and violence. By declining government funding and often partnering with faith-based agencies, Concern America unites people in the work of community projects, from construction of a water system to the establishment of a health clinic “or whatever their need is,” according to Loewe. Concern America teams often stay in a region for several years, helping residents create lasting solutions and stable local economies.

“By being a group that doesn’t have a political stake in whatever the conflict was about, we can begin to reweave the fabric of civil society by gathering folks who can begin to  focus on rebuilding their community,” Loewe says.

Since its establishment, the non-sectarian group has worked in 15 countries on three continents and in 2007 was chosen as a finalist for the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

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