At a virtual event organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to the United Nations, Member States, religious leaders, faith actors, and civil society representatives gathered for a commemoration of the historic meeting on 4 February 2019, between His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which led to the signing of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”
A subsequent UN resolution encourages all Member States to actively promote a culture of peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity.
The event provided an opportunity to highlight the principles and values included in the Document of Human Fraternity and to renew the joint commitment to promoting mutual respect, religious and cultural diversity, and advancing dialogue.
António Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, underscored the importance of mutual respect and solidarity.
“We must come together to protect and uphold human rights, combat hate speech and violent extremism, and push back against those who profit from fear,” he said. “Let us reaffirm our commitment to bridging divides, fostering religious understanding and cooperation, among people of all cultures and beliefs.”
World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay commemorated the day in Abu Dhabi by attending the ceremony for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2024, which honored organizations for their efforts in advancing human fraternity.
Pillay said, “It is highly commendable that individuals and organisations are identified and recognised for the good service they provide in uplifting sustaining and developing human lives and communities. The Zayed Award provides further inspiration and encouragement to others to make a positive difference in their context and world.”
Indonesian organizations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, Egyptian world-renowned cardiac surgeon Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub, and Chilean grassroots leader Sister Nelly Leon Correa, were all honorees of the award.
The 2024 honorees were selected by an independent judging committee for their exceptional efforts in tackling complex societal challenges and promoting peaceful coexistence and solidarity among humanity at the international and grassroots levels.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is an annual independent international award that recognizes people and entities of all backgrounds, anywhere in the world, who are working selflessly and tirelessly across divides to advance the timeless values of solidarity, integrity, fairness, and optimism and create breakthroughs towards peaceful coexistence.
The WCC general secretary, apart from attending the Zayed Awards, will make contributions to the Zayed Roundtable and discussions with the Ministry of Tolerance and Human Fraternity.