YMCA Peace Medal Awarded Posthumously to Sharif Rahman

In celebration of this year’s YMCA Peace Week, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce is proud to announce Sharif Rahman as the recipient of the 2023 YMCA Peace Medal. This prestigious award recognizes individuals who embody the values of peace through their actions and contributions to the community. 

YMCA Peace Week, observed annually during the third week of November, encourages people of all ages to reflect on peace, engage in meaningful conversations, and take collective action to build stronger, more harmonious communities. The Peace Medal is a symbolic recognition of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the values of Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community, and Empowerment. 

This year’s recipient, Sharif Rahman, is being honored posthumously for his exceptional contributions to peace-building within the community and beyond. Despite his passing in August 2023, Sharif’s legacy continues to resonate with those who knew him. 

Sharif was nominated by Rick MacLeod Farley, Joan Beecroft, and Gregg Carroll, who collectively painted a vivid picture of Sharif’s peacemaking work and the profound impact he had on the community. Described as the “sun in his own solar system of family and friends,” Sharif’s positive and peaceful energy left an indelible mark on everyone he encountered. 

Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community, and Empowerment – these principles were evident in Sharif’s life and work: 

  • Participation: Sharif actively engaged in community initiatives, volunteering for projects such as Fuelling the Frontline and supporting various charitable organizations. He served on the Grey County Economic Development Committee, the Board of DIA – Owen Sound, and was a dedicated member of the YMCA. 
  • Empathy: Sharif demonstrated compassion by advocating for global and local issues, supporting newcomers to Canada, and helping others navigate challenges such as immigration and employment. 
  • Advocacy: Without seeking the spotlight, Sharif quietly worked for positive change, leading by example and supporting friends, family, and strangers alike. 
  • Community: Sharif’s commitment to building and strengthening community connections was evident through his involvement in various committees and boards, leaving a lasting impact on the community. 
  • Empowerment: The overwhelming community response to Sharif’s passing highlighted the depth of his positive involvement in the region. He empowered and touched the lives of hundreds, both locally and globally. 

The 2023 YMCA Peace Medal was presented to Sharif’s family on his behalf, acknowledging his lasting legacy of compassion and care for the community. His name will be added to the Peace Medal Recipient Frame, a permanent display at the YMCA, honouring those who have made significant contributions to building peace. 

In accepting the award on behalf of Sharif, Shayela, wife of the late Mr. Rahman, expressed gratitude for the community’s support and highlighted Sharif’s unwavering dedication to the community. The ceremony also recognized Sharif’s impact as a past Board member, YMCA member, employer, and supporter of various YMCA programs and activities. 

The YMCA extends special thanks to all attendees for participating in this year’s YMCA Peace Medal ceremony, acknowledging Sharif’s remarkable contributions to peace-building in the community. 

In closing, Mayor Sue Carleton emphasized the importance of living in peace with those close to us, echoing the sentiments of the YMCA’s Statement of Peace from 1981. Sharif’s legacy serves as a reminder that peace has many dimensions, and the YMCA is grateful for his significant contributions toward fostering peace within the community.

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