List of Famous Peace Activists

List of famous peace activists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top peace activists in the world? This includes the most prominent peace activists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable peace activists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic peace activists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned peace activists.

List contains people like Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. Featuring peaceful people, Black activists, peace leaders, peace advocates, and more, this list has it all. 

From reputable, prominent, and well known peace activists to the lesser known peace activists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the peace activist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous peace activists ever?" and "What are the names of famous peace activists?" then you're in the right place. 

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  • Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = m c 2 {\displaystyle E=mc^{2}} , which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory. Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led him to develop his special theory of relativity during his time at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern (1902–1909). However, he realized that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and he published a paper on general relativity in 1916 with his theory of gravitation. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, he applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe.Except for one year in Prague, Einstein lived in Switzerland between 1895 and 1914, during which time he renounced his German citizenship in 1896, then received his academic diploma from the Swiss federal polytechnic school (later the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zürich in 1900. After being stateless for more than five years, he acquired Swiss citizenship in 1901, which he kept for the rest of his life. In 1905, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Zurich. The same year, he published four groundbreaking papers during his renowned annus mirabilis (miracle year) which brought him to the notice of the academic world at the age of 26. Einstein taught theoretical physics at Zurich between 1912 and 1914, before he left for Berlin, where he was elected to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. In 1933, while Einstein was visiting the United States, Adolf Hitler came to power. Because of his Jewish background, Einstein did not return to Germany. He settled in the United States and became an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the US begin similar research. This eventually led to the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported the Allies, but he generally denounced the idea of using nuclear fission as a weapon. He signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto with British philosopher Bertrand Russell, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955. Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 non-scientific works. His intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius". Eugene Wigner wrote of Einstein in comparison to his contemporaries that "Einstein's understanding was deeper even than Jancsi von Neumann's. His mind was both more penetrating and more original than von Neumann's. And that is a very remarkable statement."
  • John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the rhythm guitarist for the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued as a solo artist and as a collaborator of Ono's music. Born in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager. In 1957, he formed his first band, the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. He was initially the group's de facto leader, a role gradually rescinded to McCartney. Starting in 1967, Lennon's lyrics began to espouse a pacifist message, and some of his songs were soon adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture. From 1968 to 1972, he produced more than a dozen records with Ono, including a trilogy of avant-garde albums, his first solo LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and the international top 10 singles "Give Peace a Chance", "Instant Karma!", "Imagine" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Lennon was characterised for the rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. He was controversial through his political and peace activism. After moving to New York City in 1971, his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year attempt by the Nixon administration to deport him. In 1975, Lennon disengaged from the music business to raise his infant son Sean, and in 1980, returned with the Ono collaboration Double Fantasy. He was shot and killed in the archway of his Manhattan apartment building three weeks after the album's release. By 2012, Lennon's solo album sales in the US had exceeded 14 million units. He had 25 number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart as a writer, co-writer or performer. In 2002, Lennon was voted eighth in a BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. In 1987, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
  • Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as bass player for the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine. A self-taught musician, McCartney is proficient on bass, guitar, and keyboards. He is known for his melodic approach to bass-playing (mainly playing with a plectrum), his versatile and wide tenor vocal range (spanning over four octaves), and his eclecticism (exploring styles ranging from early 20th-century pop to classical and electronica). McCartney began his career as a member of the Quarrymen in 1957, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. Starting in 1967, he gradually became the Beatles' de facto leader and business manager, providing the creative impetus for their records after Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Of his Beatles songs, more than 2,200 artists have covered "Yesterday" (1965), making it one of the most covered songs in popular music history. In 1970, he made his solo debut with the album McCartney, which anticipated the lo-fi movement. Along with Ram (1971) and McCartney II (1980), the records have enjoyed a cult following among later generations of musicians. From 1971 to 1981, he led the group Wings, and in 1993, he formed the music duo the Fireman with Youth of Killing Joke. Since 2002, McCartney has toured consistently with the same backing musicians. Beyond music, he has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, seal hunting, land mines, vegetarianism, poverty, and music education. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009, had 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. His honors include two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999), 18 Grammy Awards, an appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965, and a knighthood in 1997 for services to music. As of 2015, he is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated fortune of $730 million.
  • Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Following his self-titled debut album in 1962, which mainly comprised traditional folk songs, Dylan made his breakthrough as a songwriter with the release of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan the following year. The album featured "Blowin' in the Wind" and the thematically complex "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall." For many of these songs, he adapted the tunes and phraseology of older folk songs. He went on to release the politically charged The Times They Are a-Changin' and the more lyrically abstract and introspective Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964. In 1965 and 1966, Dylan encountered controversy when he adopted electrically amplified rock instrumentation, and in the space of 15 months recorded three of the most important and influential rock albums of the 1960s: Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966). The six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965) radically expanded what a pop song could convey. In July 1966, Dylan withdrew from touring after being injured in a motorcycle accident. During this period, he recorded a large body of songs with members of the Band, who had previously backed him on tour. These recordings were released as the collaborative album The Basement Tapes in 1975. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dylan explored country music and rural themes in John Wesley Harding (1967), Nashville Skyline (1969), and New Morning (1970). In 1975, he released Blood on the Tracks, which many saw as a return to form. In the late 1970s, he became a born-again Christian and released a series of albums of contemporary gospel music before returning to his more familiar rock-based idiom in the early 1980s. The major works of his later career include Time Out of Mind (1997), "Love and Theft" (2001), Modern Times (2006) and Tempest (2012). His most recent recordings have comprised versions of traditional American standards, especially songs recorded by Frank Sinatra. Backed by a changing lineup of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. Since 1994, Dylan has published eight books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. He has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has also received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
  • Harry Belafonte (born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr.; March 1, 1927 – April 25, 2023) was an American singer, activist, and actor. As arguably the most successful Caribbean-American pop star, he popularized Jamaican mento folk songs which were marketed as Trinbagonian Calypso musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) was the first million-selling LP by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for his recording of "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". He has recorded and performed many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films. Throughout his career, Belafonte was an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement and USA for Africa. From 1987 until his death, he was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Belafonte acted as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues.
  • Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈniːmœlɐ]; 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known for his opposition to the Nazi regime during the 1930s and for his widely quoted poem "First they came ..." The poem has many different versions, one of which begins "First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Communist," and concludes, "Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph, but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic. For his opposition to the Nazis' state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis. He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters' International from 1966 to 1972. He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.