my guess is that this is Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, Zen Master, poet, lecturer, author and peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1966 Thich Nhat Hanh traveled from Vietnam to the US with a message of Peace and met with Dr. King during that visit. Dr. King was so impressed with his articulate message of peace, he nominated him for the Nobel Prize.
I am not sure what phinz is after regarding what made him so famous. It could be his role as a peace activist during the Vietnam war, or it could be his extensive writings making Buddhism accessable and understandable to the average person.
BTW, in 1995 Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book "Cultivating the Mind of Love, the Practice of Looking Deeply in the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition", in which he used a painting my sister painted, as the cover art for that book.