Power Of Story. Bridging Differences

Atlantic Institute of Jacksonville held its 9th annual Peace and Dialogue Awards Dinner on March 23rd, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront.

Guest speaker for the evening was Al Letson, the host of Reveal’s Peabody Award-winning public radio program and podcast showcasing investigative stories. Letson is a playwright, performance poet and actor. He also is the host and executive producer of “State of the Re:Union,” a public radio program airing on more than 200 stations. In each episode, “State of the Re:Union” travels to an American city or town to tell stories about the people and explore how communities are being created. The program won a 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award in the news documentary category. Letson divides his time between Jacksonville, Florida, and Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize those who have made contributions towards intercultural dialogue and peace by promoting mutual understanding and thereby achieving greater cross-cultural cooperation.  Each of the honorees delivered a speech about their work and personal commitment to intercultural understanding.

Educational Service Award

Hope McMath

Hope served at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens for 22 years, moving from Director of Education to Deputy Director, before seven years as the organization’s Director. She led the organization through an important period of growth, both through capital expansion and a significant increase in visitation. Her work at the museum and beyond has been recently recognized with the 2016 One Jax Humanitarian Award, a Cultural Icon Award from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and most recently the Voice of Equality Award from Equality Florida. She gives her time to a variety of organizations and causes including the State of Florida Council on Arts and Culture, Any Given Child Jacksonville, TEDx Jacksonville, We Are Straight Allies, and is co-leading White and Woke, a campaign and mobilization effort to raise awareness among white people to dismantle institutional racism.

Educational Service Award – The individual has held leadership role at a university or an institution that promotes education. This individual has distinguished themselves by generously contributing their time, energy, expertise, leadership, and dedication in order to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duvall

Diversity in Media Award

Tessa Duval

Tessa Duvall is the education, children and families reporter at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida. She presented at 2015’s TEDxJacksonville on her Butler Middle School reporting – “Learning the Truth About Bad Schools”. Previously a reporter with the Midland Reporter-Telegram in Midland, Texas. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with degrees in news/editorial journalism and sociology and a minor in political science. With experience including internships at The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) and The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), as well as three years on the College Heights Herald staff at WKU

Diversity in Media Award – The individual has worked in either print news, television, radio, internet, or a combination of the above and must have dedicated significant time to relating news stories which promote diversity awareness, intercultural understanding, empathy between cultures and religious groups, or cooperation of diverse individuals in community improvement initiatives.

Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duvall

Community Service Award

Darnell Smith

Darnell Smith is the 2017 chair of the JAX Chamber Board of Directors.  He has been Florida Blue market president for the North Florida region since 2013. He will begin as chair-elect of the chamber board in January. He has served on the boards of directors for the Cathedral Arts Project, the Otis Smith Kids Foundation, the PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville, Ritz Theatre & Museum and the YMCA, as well as the Florida Blue Foundation, Florida Blue’s philanthropic affiliate.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida State University and is a graduate of the advanced management program at Harvard Business School.

Community Service Award: This individual has made a large contribtion to our local community through involvement in community service, organized projects, and/or diversity while striving for excellence in communitys service projects.