On the Global Stage

The Rothko Chapel's creation was the vision of John and Dominique de Menil, who from the time of its dedication in 1971, followed by Colloquium I in 1973, sought to bring together people of many different faiths, or of no faith, to participate in dialogues about matters of world importance.

At the Chapel's opening in 1971, Dominique de Menil said, "...this Chapel has deeper roots than our own involvement.  It is rooted in the growing awareness that love and the search for truth are unifying principles. It is rooted in the growing hope that communities who worship God should find in their commen aspiration the possibility of dialogue with one another in a spirit of respect and love."

Over the course of its nearly forty-year history, the Chapel has presented and brought together faith leaders and human rights advocates from around the world, including the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and President Jimmy Carter. In 1981, it initiated human rights awards for "commitment to Truth and Freedom." In 1986, a second award was established to honor and emulate the spirit of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, who was murdered on March 24, 1980.  These awards have recognized individuals and organizations who, at great risk, have denounced violations of human rights. And it has welcomed literally hundreds of thousands of pilgrims through its doors for prayer, contemplation, and to experience the transformative power of art.