John Raleigh Mott (May 25, 1865 – January 31, 1955) was a long-serving leader of the 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. From 1895 until 1920 Mott was the General Secretary of the WSCF. In 1910, Mott, an American Methodist layperson, presided at the 1910 World Missionary Conference, which launched both the modern Protestant missions movement and some say the modern ecumenical movement. From 1920 until 1928 he was the Chairperson of the WSCF.
Read John Mott's Nobel Prize lecture, free from nobelprize.org.
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" (Cracknell & White, 243). Intimately involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948, that body elected him as a life-long honorary President. His best-known book, The Evangelization of the World in this Generation, became a missionary slogan in the early 20th century (Cracknell & White, 233).
Mott was born in Livingston Manor, New York, Sullivan County, New York on May 25, 1865, and his family moved to Postville, Iowa in September of the same year. He attended Upper Iowa University, where he studied history and was an award-winning student debater. He transferred to Cornell University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1888. Mott married Leila Ada White in 1891 and had two sons and two daughters.
He died at his home in Orlando, Florida, at the age of eighty-nine.