The Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), was presented with the Phoenix Award for the Council’s “tireless pursuit of peace and justice throughout the global community,” during the opening press conference of the 2004 US Conference for the WCC in Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, Sept 5, 2004.
"As Atlantans and as Americans, we applaud the WCC for its tireless pursuit of peace and justice throughout our global community and for initiating the Decade to Overcome Violence," stated Atlanta’mayor Shirely Franklin as she offered the award to Kobia.
Kobia, in turn, recognized the historical implications of the award, by commenting that Martin Luther King, Jr was "a hero to thousands and millions", whose lives "have been transformed" by his message of peace.
Also participating at the press conference were: Dr Bernice Powell Jackson, WCC president from North America; Martin Luther King III, honorary chair of the Atlanta Ecumenical Planning Committee; Rev. Dr T. DeWitt Smith, Jr, moderator of the Atlanta Ecumenical Planning Committee; Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith, chair of the US Conference annual meeting Planning Committee; Rev. Deborah DeWinter, WCC programme executive for the US.