International Paint Pals ‘won’ with Nobel Peace Prize nomination

October 9, 2020

Linden Longino woke up at 4:30 a.m. Oct. 9.

He did it so he could, an hour later, watch who the Nobel Committee would announce, at a ceremony halfway around the world in Oslo, Norway, as the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

When committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said the United Nations World Food Program had won the award, Longino, founder and managing partner of Buckhead-based International Paint Pals, one of the award’s nominees, said he and his partners across the globe were disappointed, but the nomination itself was a victory. Under Nobel rules, the nominees are not announced until the winner is.

Paint Pals is a nonprofit that uses children’s art to promote peace, friendship and human rights worldwide. It was one of 107 humanitarian and peace-encouraging organizations nominated among the thousands of humanitarian and peace-encouraging organizations worldwide nominated. An additional 211 individuals were also nominated.

“The nomination in and of itself was very important to me and all the Paint Pals partners around the world,” Longino said in an interview. “It’s on par with winning it. In the process of winning the nomination, we won the other things I talked about (in a letter to Paint Pals organizing partners and supporters). The bottom line is we were happy with the nomination and we congratulate the winner.”

In his letter, he wrote, “The long wait is over. International Paint Pals did not win the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. We won more than that. We won the hearts and minds of countless children worldwide. We won many friendships among ourselves. We planted seeds of peace in over one hundred countries.”

According to a news release, in the past 25 years Paint Pals has helped 200,000 children from 117 countries to come together in the name of peace by expressing themselves through art for the world to see. It has hosted several art exhibits at worldwide events such as the Olympics and the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

“We think this is exactly the spirit that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he established the Peace Prize over 100 years ago,” Longino said in the release. “His will proclaimed that the prize should be awarded to ‘the person (or organization) who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations … and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.’”

Paint Pals was founded in 1995 following his work with The Atlanta Project of The Carter Center in Atlanta. In his letter, Longino wrote that the organization’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Exhibition at the Carter Presidential Library & Museum, which is next to the Carter Center, has been delayed indefinitely by COVID-19. It will include 1,200 original artworks and 2,000 virtual images from children bringing messages of peace. An opening date will be announced once it’s set.

Of the Nobel Peace Prize, “My only regret”, Longino said in the release, “is that the $1

million award will not assist Paint Pals children worldwide.”


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