Ronny Edry

founder of Israel Loves Iran

This year, we honor an Israeli from Tel Aviv, Ronny Edry, whose simple message of love to Iranians in the face of impending war, has inspired a global response. We are thrilled that he will be accepting his award next March and delivering the keynote address at Principia College's 64th Public Affairs Conference, on “Youth Empowerment: Action not Apathy.” For more information and registration details for this conference, click here.

In March of this year, Ronny Edry, a graphic designer, father, and husband living in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his family, was frustrated and concerned. All anyone talked about was impending war with Iran, and he wished he could do something to prevent it. One night he created and posted an image on Facebook of himself holding his daughter and waving an Israeli flag. On it was the caption,

“Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you."

Within 24 hours, thousands of people had shared the poster on Facebook, and Ronny started receiving messages directly from Iranians, much to his great astonishment. His heartfelt action started not only the popular online community Israel Loves Iran, but inspired a wave of response from the other side—groups like Iran Loves IsraelPalestine Loves Israel, and several others. Since March, Ronny has garnered significant media attention and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Watch his incredibly inspiring TED talk below:

The power of one

Like Ronny, citizens around the world are feeling empowered to take charge of their political, economic and social futures. His message amplifies what one person can do—be authentic, pure, simple, and determined. Ronny’s everyday courage has initiated a dialogue between the peoples of two nations that the world had written off as impossible. His passion and dedication to fostering this conversation at the grassroots is a powerful example of the power of the individual to implement tangible change in our world.

When we asked Ronny how he would define sustainable peace, he responded, “It’s both individual and collective. The first part is individual: you have to see the person in front of you as a human, a person. We must stop fearing the “Other.” Once you see your enemy as a human being similar to yourself, then you understand that he doesn't hate you as years of propaganda succeed to make you believe, and you can never go back to that blind hate. Then, collectively, you can start to know each other and you will be ready for peace.”