MACON – Mercer University junior Alexander John Paul Lutz was one of two recipients of the inaugural Rick Love Young Innovators in Peacebuilding Award, presented by Peace Catalyst International, an organization that equips and mobilizes Christians for collective peacebuilding across lines of difference.

The award, presented at the Alliance for Peacebuilding’s virtual PeaceCon conference on Jan. 27, carries a $750 cash prize and is designed to jumpstart the work of awardees and provide them with a path to living in peace in the way modeled by Rick Love, the late founder and president of Peace Catalyst International.

Lutz, a triple-major in international affairs, political science and history, has focused his studies at Mercer on the role of religion in matters of war and peace, presenting his work at conferences hosted by the International Studies Association and Georgia Political Science Association.

He serves as a justice on Mercer’s Undergraduate Honor Council and as a leader of several student organizations, including Bears Engaged Across Religions, Mercer International Affairs Organization and the Mercer International Mock Conference Association. Additionally, he has participated in internships with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and Churches for Middle East Peace.

Influenced by his Quaker faith tradition and his experiences working toward interfaith cooperation in the Republic of Georgia through the Mercer On Mission program, Lutz has decided to pursue a future in peacebuilding.

“I’m honored to have been selected to receive the Rick Love Young Innovators Award. With the assistance of Peace Catalyst International, I will be able to continue developing my passion for peacebuilding into a lifelong vocation,” said Lutz.

Upon graduation, Lutz plans to pursue his master’s degree and Ph.D. in international relations.

“JP Lutz is one of the most brilliant and morally committed students I have had the pleasure to teach. His future potential in peacebuilding is immensely promising,” said Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, who nominated Lutz for the award.

Peace Catalyst International’s goal is to model peacebuilding in local contexts and to help Christians understand their neighbors, connect with them across lines of difference and ultimately collaborate with them to create communities where everyone can thrive.

Love founded Peace Catalyst and dedicated the last 10 years of his life to peacebuilding, courageously crossing social, political and ideological divides and inviting others to do the same.

To honor his legacy, to further his vision and to raise up more peacebuilders like him, Peace Catalyst established the Rick Love Peace Awards and presented the first Rick Love Peace Awards and Rick Love Young Innovators in Peacebuilding Awards in 2022. These prestigious awards honor those who creatively cross divides to build peace, exhibiting the same character and courage displayed by Love.

About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit