Chicago, IL (April 11, 2019) – Suzanne Morgan, founder and president of Sacred Spaces International, was awarded the Ken Bensen Award for Excellence in Contextual Leadership by the OMNIA Institute in Chicago for her work in supporting OMNIA’s peacemaking initiatives in Sri Lanka and Nigeria, and for her groundbreaking work in promoting inter-religious understanding. The Rev. Dr. Ken Bensen, for whom the award is named, made the presentation at the OMNIA Institute’s Advisory Board meeting on Saturday, April 6 in Chicago.
“Today,” said Bensen, “we recognize you, Suzanne, for your generous commitment to peacebuilding around the world, and for your innovative use of Sacred Spaces to teach the world to love their neighbors as themselves…. As a pastor for many years I often saw the church as a place for people to gather and worship, and as a place to maintain when the boiler goes out, and the like, but you taught me how to see the church building itself as sacred space and a tool for peacebuilding. It was a valuable lesson that you taught me in my later years. Thank you.”
Morgan’s support of the OMNIA Institute has been instrumental in establishing more than 80 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams in Nigeria and Sri Lanka where religious extremism has threatened peaceful progress, while her own organization, Sacred Spaces International, is working to bring religious communities together in several cities to share their rich religious and architectural heritage in an effort to forge bonds of friendship, respect, and cooperation.
Ms. Morgan, who is a Chicago-based architect and a leading expert on sacred spaces, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to help build peace around the world: “This award from the Omnia Institute, an organization that has captured my deepest respect, is very meaningful to me, especially since it was presented to me by Ken Bensen, Chair Emeritus. It affirms the mission to which I have been called: from my foundations in architecture and religious education, bringing peace among diverse congregations through a contextual perspective.”