A middle-aged educator who quit his job three years ago to open a volunteer peace center has been declared the grand prize winner of a Quest for Peace Writing Contest administered at UC Irvine. The prize carries a cash award of $5,000.
"I was shocked," a jubilant Don Tilley, 53, said Thursday by telephone from the 2-room office of his World Peace Center in Lincoln, Neb. "Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I just put down on paper the ideas I had within me. I can't tell you how good it makes me feel that objective judges would validate them."
The contest is sponsored by the Citizen Education for Peace Project at UCI and is tied to John M. Whiteley's "Quest for Peace" weekly television series, which is seen in Orange County on KOCE-TV (Channel 50, Sundays, 11 a.m.-noon) and in about 200 cities nationwide.
Whiteley, 47, a UCI professor of social ecology, said there will be two more "Quest for Peace" writing contests this year. The deadline for the first is June 1; for the second, Nov. 1. Each contest will award total prize money of $10,000, made available by anonymous donors from Orange County. Entries should be addressed to Citizen Education for Peace Project, P.O. Box 6021, Irvine, Calif. 92716-6021.