Announcements / December 1, 2018

2019 Global Ties U.S. Citizen Diplomat Award: Serve 2 Unite

Pardeep Singh Kaleka (left) and Arno Michaelis (right) form Serve 2 Unite. Photo source

December 18, 2018 — We are pleased to announce the winner of our 2019 Citizen Diplomat Award, Serve 2 Unite.

Serve 2 Unite (S2U) is an organization led by Pardeep Singh Kaleka, who lost his father in the August 5, 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Arno Michaelis, a former white supremacist who helped start the gang that produced the August 5 shooter.

Together, they formed Serve 2 Unite to “establish a healthy sense of identity, purpose, and belonging that diverts young people from violent extremist ideologies, gun violence, school shootings…and other forms of self-harm.” This includes working closely with school administrators and educators to facilitate tailored programs on a variety of social issues for students and parents.

Pardeep is a licensed trauma therapist originally from Punjab, India. He is a former police officer and educator in Milwaukee who now specializes in holistic trauma-informed treatment with survivors of assault.

Arno is a former leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, Racial Holy War, and a former lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated helped turn Arno’s life around. He is now an author, speaker, educator, and filmmaker.

Pardeep and Arno co-authored the book “Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate” published in April 2018.

About the Award

Each year ahead of the National Meeting, Global Ties U.S. puts out a call to its Network for nominations of exceptional citizen diplomats in communities across the country. According to the U.S Diplomacy Center, a citizen diplomat can be anyone who is “motivated by a desire to engage with the rest of the world in a meaningful, mutually beneficial dialogue.”

For its work in using dialogue as the primary tool to promote peace, engage community, and foster inclusive climates in schools, Serve 2 Unite was selected as this year’s recipient of the Citizen Diplomat Award. As its leaders, Pardeep and Arno will be recognized at the National Meeting held January 23-26 in Washington, DC. Congratulations!

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