Pérez Esquivel, Adolfo (1931–)

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Pérez Esquivel, Adolfo (1931–)

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (b. 26 November 1931), Argentine sculptor, peace activist, and coordinator of the Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ), Latin America's principal organization promoting societal change through nonviolence. In 1980 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with SERPAJ.

Born in Buenos Aires, Pérez Esquivel was educated in Catholic schools and was deeply influenced by the writings of St. Augustine and Thomas Merton, as well as by the pacifist example of Mohandas Gandhi. Trained in sculpture at the National School of Fine Arts, he later taught there for fifteen years. He abandoned his successful career as a sculptor in the early 1970s to promote nonviolence as the most appropriate response to the violence that was afflicting Latin America as a result of increasing pressures for change.

In 1974 Pérez Esquivel joined with other Catholic activists to form SERPAJ, an agency for the dissemination of knowledge of nonviolent strategies and for the promotion of greater observance of human rights, participatory models of economic development, greater political participation especially among the poor, disarmament, and demilitarization. That year Pérez Esquivel became the general coordinator of SERPAJ, traveling throughout Latin America and elsewhere to promote nonviolence. As a result of his work, he was jailed for fourteen months in 1977–1978 by the Argentine military government. Upon his release, he resumed his work promoting nonviolence as the most effective way of creating a democratic and liberating social order. In 1995 he published his book Walking Together with the People and beginning in 2003 he became president of the Honorary Council of Service, Latin American Peace and Justice Foundation.

See alsoPérez Aguirre, Luis; Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ).


Canas, Andrés. Caminos de nuestra América. Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Pensamiento Nacional, 1999.

                                 Margaret E. Crahan

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Pérez Esquivel, Adolfo (1931–)

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