John Mott

po_Mott-JohnJohn Raleigh Mott (May 25, 1865 – January 31, 1955) was a long-serving leader of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF).

He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work in establishing and strengthening international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. He shared the prize with Emily Balch.

In 1910, Mott, an American Methodist layperson, presided at the 1910 World Missionary Conference, which was an important milestone in the modern Protestant missions movement and some say the modern ecumenical movement. From 1920 until 1928 he was the Chairperson of the WSCF. For his labors in both missions and ecumenism, as well as for peace, some historians consider him to be “the most widely traveled and universally trusted Christian leader of his time”. Intimately involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948, that body elected him as a lifelong honorary President. His best-known book, The Evangelization of the World in this Generation, became a missionary slogan in the early 20th century.

The papers of John R. Mott are held at the Yale Divinity School Library.

Mott and a colleague were offered free passage on the Titanic in 1912 by a White Star Line official who was interested in their work, but they declined and took the more humble liner the SS Lapland. According to a biography by C. Howard Hopkins, upon hearing of the news in New York, the two men looked at each other and remarked that, “The Good Lord must have more work for us to do.”