David LaMotte. Image: Johnno Chen
David LaMotte. Image: Johnno Chen
21 December 2010

Recent UQ graduate and former Rotary World Peace Fellow David LaMotte has been appointed to a prestigious committee that selects Nobel Peace Prize nominees.

Mr LaMotte graduated from UQ in June 2010 with a Master of International Studies (Peace and Conflict Resolution) and returned to the United States to work in the field of peace advocacy.

His commitment to peacemaking and humanitarian work has taken him to conflict zones from Bosnia and Belfast to Hebron and Haiti.

Mr LaMotte has been appointed to a three-year term on the AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee.

The AFSC is a Quaker social justice, peace and humanitarian organisation which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 - an honour which earned it the privilege of nominating a potential recipient each year.

Past nominees put forward by the committee have included Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

The committee on which Mr LaMotte will serve consists of 12 people across three continents who each year make a list of potential nominees together, winnow it down, interview several potential nominees, choose one and draft a nomination letter.

Not your typical student, Mr LaMotte has had an 18-year career as a professional musician, releasing 10 CDs.

He has performed more than 2000 shows in 47 US states and on four continents, a career that he put on hold in order to study at UQ.

Mr LaMotte came to UQ on a Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study in the Rotary Centre for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution, housed in the School of Political Science and International Studies.

He credits the School’s Master of International Studies (Peace and Conflict Resolution) with helping him to develop the professional skills he uses for his everyday work in peace advocacy, including his involvement in the Nobel Peace Prize nominating committee.

"I especially loved the availability of the professors," Mr LaMotte said.

"I developed relationships that continue even now.

"After attending a large undergraduate university, where I'm confident that none of the professors remember me, it's refreshing to have that kind of involvement and to truly develop friendships with the academic staff."

Mr LaMotte said he was looking forward to his work on the Nobel committee and continuing his hectic schedule of speaking engagements, concerts and directing a not-for-profit organisation, PEG Partners, which he founded in 2004 to support school and library projects in Guatemala.

He is also working as the Program Associate for Peace at the North Carolina Council of Churches, and writing a book, tentatively titled World changing 101: Why Your Hope Is Not Naive.  

For more information about Mr LaMotte, you can read his blog, listen to his music and visit PEG Partners at the links below.

Media: Naomi Smith (07 3365 3308, naomi.smith@uq.edu.au)