JA Worldwide has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize and Junior Achievement of the Heartland is celebrating the honor.

A member of the global JA network, the Heartland chapter has been serving young people in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas for 66 years, equipping them with the skillset and mindset to create sustainable businesses, find meaningful employment, and build thriving communities.

Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize may be received only from heads of state and certain elected officials, university professors in selected fields, past Nobel laureates, and a few other notable individuals, according to a JA release Monday.

Although the identity of each nominee officially remains anonymous for 50 years, JA Worldwide received permission to share that JA was nominated by a distinguished Professor of Law and International Affairs “who was impressed by our global reach, our success in delivering economic empowerment to youth at scale, and our ability to find unity in diversity,” according to the release. “For centuries, unemployment and poverty have led to political instability, violence, and war. By economically empowering youth on all continents, JA serves a conduit for peace.”

Asheesh Advani, CEO of JA Worldwide, shared his perspective in response to the nomination: “Peace is only possible when youth in all countries and regions have economic empowerment,” he said in the release. “JA Worldwide is honored to receive this nomination and will continue our work to enable all young people to have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. Our primary hope for solving the world’s most complex problems rests in the young people of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Dougal Nelson is president/CEO of JA of the Heartland.

“Investing in our young people is essential to reducing poverty and violence and promoting social equity,” said Dougal Nelson, president/CEO, Junior Achievement of the Heartland. “No single person or organization can tackle this issue alone. Junior Achievement of the Heartland is invested in our young people to erase inequality, impoverishment and dashed expectations.”

Although all other Nobel prizes are awarded in Sweden, the Nobel Peace Prize is chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, assisted by the Norwegian Nobel Institute, which acts as its secretariat. The winner will be announced in October 2022.

Grete Nykkelmo, CEO of JA Norway (Ungt Entreprenørskap), responded to the news in this way: “We are delighted to share in this recognition as a proud member of the JA Worldwide network. Our unique blend of entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness enables us to impact individuals, communities, and society. Peace is achieved when young people have economic opportunity, and we are honored that JA has been recognized alongside other nominees that are striving for a more peaceful world.”

Last year, Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov won the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. “At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” according to the Nobel prize website.

In 2021, there were 329 official candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, out of which 234 were individuals and 95 were organizations.

A Junior Achievement volunteer at Moline’s Lincoln Irving Elementary School in 2016.

About Junior Achievement of the Heartland

Junior Achievement of the Heartland, based in Moline, provides entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy programs to more than 4,000 K-12 grade students throughout the tri-state area each year. The programs are offered to schools at no cost and led by business-experienced community volunteers. Proceeds from the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame will help fund JA programs in local schools. Visit its website HERE.

About JA Worldwide

As one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs, JA Worldwide prepares young people for employment and entrepreneurship. For over 100 years, JA has delivered hands-on, experiential learning in work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. Each year, its network of over 590,000 volunteers and teachers serves more than 10 million students in over 100 countries. Visit jaworldwide.org.