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Nebraskan Wins Grand Prize in UCI Peace Contest

February 19, 1988|JAN HERMAN | Times Staff Writer

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.

Whiteley said anyone may enter the contests by sending a letter to his or her choice of candidate for President of the United States, spelling out what the next president should do to enhance the prospects for world peace.

A copy of the letter must be sent to the Peace Project, along with statement of where and when the contestant saw one of the "Quest for Peace" programs.

"All we're trying to do with the contest is to stimulate careful thinking and citizen action on a critical issue in the democratic process," Whiteley said.

As host of the "Quest for Peace" series, Whiteley interviews influential world figures in a wide variety of fields, from nuclear disarmament and strategic weapons, to medicine, politics and religion. Participants have included Robert McNamara, Edward Teller, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Hans Bethe, Barry Goldwater, Norman Cousins, Paul Ehrlich and Karl Menninger.

A total of $5,000 was divided among second-prize winner Barbara Scott of New Paltz, N.Y. and eight people who tied for third prize.

Tilley said he would use $3,000 of his prize money to pay World Peace Center bills, $1,000 to pay off personal debts and $1,000 for a trip he and his wife will take to the Epcot Center in Florida.

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