"For her lasting artistic and peace-promoting political work," Yoko Ono, Japanese artist and widow of John Lennon, has won a prestigious German peace prize — the Theodor Wanner Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award recalls the German manager and patron Theodor Wanner (1875-1955), on whose initiative the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA) was founded in 1917.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle watched as Ono received the prize near Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate.
80-year-old Ono said to the watching crowd:
"This prize is a message to me from you that what I've been doing was understood by you."
"Now is time for action and action is peace. Think peace, act peace, spread peace, and let's make it all together." The award included 10,000 euros ($13,700), which Ono immediately handed to Boniface Mwangi, who runs an organization that helps young artists in Kenya.
Born in Tokyo, and raised in both Japan and the US, Ono started life in a well-off banking family, and became a global icon when she married Beatle John Lennon. Ono has been using her celebrity to raise awareness to various causes since her Montreal honeymoon, when the couple called for peace from their marital bed.
She has been involved in many projects, including fighting hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York together with her son, Sean Lennon.
In December 2012, she won another German human rights prize for her work in peace activism and for championing equality for both women and homosexuals.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the first day of their Bed-In for Peace in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel:
John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Bed-in for Peace - Amsterdam Hilton Hotel - 25 March 1969.