Ecumenical News International via Episcopal Life:
The Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, a Ugandan Anglican priest who became the first known African cleric to declare publicly he was HIV-positive, breaking stigma-induced silence that often hampers combating the illness, has been awarded the Niwano Peace Prize.
The award is often seen as akin to a Nobel Peace Prize for members of the faith community. It is awarded by the Japan-based Niwano Peace Foundation. The prize comes with 20 million yen (US$213,000), the Buddhist group said in a February 20 statement. This is the second time in five years the prize has gone to Uganda.
In 2004 the prize was awarded to the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative, a northern Uganda organization in which the members of different religions, including Islam and Christianity (Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican), work together in a region wracked by armed conflict.
A teacher by profession, an Anglican pastor by calling and a theologian by training, Byamugisha will be presented with the prize in Tokyo on 7 May.
One member of the prize committee said, "Canon Gideon has turned personal suffering into a religious message of hope and courage and has matched it with constructive action that has provided inspiration and help to so many who have fallen victim to the HIV/AIDS pandemic."