The Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Award was established in 2006. The award is annually presented by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World to individuals who exemplify the late Father Drinan’s commitment to peace and human justice.



In 1970, Father Robert F. Drinan became the first Roman Catholic priest to be elected to the United States Congress. He served five terms as a congressman before an edict by Pope John Paul II forced him to choose between politics and his faith. He consistently championed legislation promoting peace and justice worldwide.

Drinan grew up in Hyde Park and was educated at Boston College. He became a Jesuit, got his law degree at Georgetown, and became dean of the Boston College Law School in 1956. Drinan set up a presidential scholars program to attract top students from around the country. He established the law review and a legal aid clinic in Waltham to help the poor. He was in the vanguard of those who transformed Boston College into a national institution.

Drinan had great intellectual curiosity, energy, and enthusiasm, and later he extended his influence across the city, calling for the desegregation of the Boston schools as part of a broader campaign to secure civil rights for minorities. He also came to oppose the Vietnam War.

With all the goodwill he generated, Drinan was a natural to run as an anti-war candidate for Congress in 1970. He defeated the Democratic incumbent and was invulnerable to conventional opposition during his 10 years in office. But he remained a Jesuit to the core, one of those remarkable men who used the skills acquired in the order to improve the world.

He became a professor at Georgetown Law School, headed Americans for Democratic Action, and worked on international issues for the American Bar Association. He returned often to Boston College, notably in October 2004, when he received the Distinguished Service Medal on the 75th anniversary of the Law School’s founding.

Drinan was a longtime member of Council for a Livable World’s Board of Directors.



2015 – Senator Chris Murphy, Representative Keith Ellison, Journalist Laura Rozen

2014 – Senator Carl Levin, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Representative John Lewis, and Jerome Grossman

2013 – Senator Tom Harkin and the late Rep. Robert Edgar

2012 – Former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman David Bonior and the late Edie Wilkie

2010 – UAW President Bob King, Representative Jim McGovern

2009 – Representative Barney Frank, Ambassador Robert Gallucci

2008 – Senator Dianne Feinstein, Representative John Hall, Actor Richard Schiff

2007 – Senator Edward Kennedy

2006 – Father Robert F. Drinan


2015 Drinan Awards

2014 Drinan Awards