Mark Peres’s story is a powerful testament to the transformative power of the humanities and civic engagement. These are the very qualities that have distinguished him as a recipient of both the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1985 and the upcoming 2024 Sullivan Foundation’s Luminary Award.

From Law to Legacy: A Purposeful Path

Peres’s journey began with a promising legal career. However, a growing disconnect between his values and the realities of the legal profession led him to seek a more meaningful path. Drawing on the wisdom gained from his education at Rollins College, he embarked on a new pursuit: fostering understanding, empathy, and action to create a better world.

The Charlotte Center for the Humanities

This shift in focus culminated in the establishment of The Charlotte Center for the Humanities and Civic Imagination in Charlotte, NC. Under Peres’s leadership as founder and director, the Center has become a beacon for those seeking to explore the human condition and its impact on civic life.

The Charlotte Center embodies Peres’s belief in the humanities as a wellspring of knowledge, understanding, and empathy. It serves as a vibrant forum for civil discourse, where community members and leaders engage in thoughtful dialogue about what constitutes “good and true” for their local and global communities. Through a variety of events and initiatives, Peres has consistently championed the role of the humanities in inspiring and empowering individuals to make positive change.

Beyond the Center: A Legacy of Inspiration

Peres’s impact extends far beyond the walls of The Charlotte Center. As a Global Ethics Professor at Johnson and Wales University, he is known for his ability to challenge students to think critically about global ethics, leadership, and the role of individuals in shaping a just and compassionate society. His teaching approach, rooted in inquiry, reflection, and action, has inspired generations of students to pursue lives of significance and service.

Aligning with Sullivan Foundation Values

Dr. Zachary Dunbar, a friend and colleague, highlights Peres’s integrity, humanitarian outlook, empathy, and quiet achievements as key characteristics that perfectly embody the Sullivan Foundation’s values. Peres’s work is marked by a deep understanding of the complexities of human existence and a relentless pursuit of justice and equity.

A Different Perspective

As a first-generation American with roots in Brazil, Peres brings a unique perspective enriched by his diverse experiences. From his formative years at Chaminade High School and Rollins College to his ventures in law, academia, and non-profit leadership, his life exemplifies a lifelong commitment to grappling with the big questions and addressing them through action.

A Beacon for Future Generations

As Peres prepares to receive the Sullivan Foundation’s Luminary Award, his contributions to the humanities and civic life serve as a powerful affirmation of the enduring importance of service, ethics, and community engagement. His work not only honors the legacy of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award but also sets a compelling example for future generations who aspire to make a positive difference in the world.

Through transformative initiatives like The Charlotte Center and his influential roles as an educator and thought leader, Peres continues to illuminate the path towards a more understanding, empathetic, and just society. His life’s work stands as a constant reminder of the profound impact a single individual can have on the world.

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