For many years, it’s been a tradition that Norwegians Worldwide host a lunch for the greater Tacoma Peace Prize Laureates, as part of their program when they visit Norway. We have been fortunate to have met these inspiring people with an unstoppable drive to make the world a better place.
The 2014 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize was awarded to Dawn Lucien and Eric Olson of Tacoma. Ms. Lucien and her son Adm. Olson have both been advocates for nonviolent solutions to difficult conflict and have served the local Tacoma community and American nation for over forty years. They were nominated for the award by William F. Lincoln, Norm Dicks, and Clare Petrich.
This week Adm. Olson and his wife Marilyn visited our offices in Oslo, and we had the pleasure of getting to know more about Olson’s great work, and the work of his mother, who were unable to join on the trip to Norway. As district manager for Congressman Norm Dicks, Dawn Lucien played a key role in the 1990 Puyallup Indian Land and Jurisdictional Claims settlement. In retirement, she has remained an advocate for the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution, a tireless contributor to community-based efforts to develop a first-class graduate degree program in dispute prevention, management, and resolution at the University of Washington – Tacoma.
Olson called himself “an unlikely laureate” of this award, because of his work in the military. But it’s through this position that he has managed to contribute to more educated, more human and carefully planned processes, and by this he has managed to make a difference.
In a career of over 35 years, Olson rose to the rank of Admiral, the first Navy SEAL to be promoted to the four-star rank, and ultimately served as the leader of the United States Special Operations Command. Twice decorated for personal valor in combat, Admiral Olson advocates for the “deeper understanding of the context of any conflict as a means to predict the effects of our actions” and he has been widely quoted for his statement that “we cannot kill our way to victory in today’s wars, so we must think our way to success.” Retired in 2011, Admiral Olson remains a leader for a more balanced military force, and considers linguistic and cultural expertise as essential.
Tacoma Peace Prize
The Greater Tacoma Peace Prize is awarded to an individual, group or organization in the greater Tacoma/Pierce County area, regardless of nationality, race, religion, or ideology. Inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize, the GTPP was founded in 2004 by Thomas Heavey, Sr. (U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Retired). Tom developed the concept for a local peace prize, sponsored by Norwegian Americans, while serving in the war zone during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first Tacoma prize was awarded in May, 2005, in honor of the centennial of Norway’s independence. The purpose of the GTPP is to recognize and honor peace builders in the Tacoma community.