The ceremony will celebrate the honorees of the fourth edition of the independent global award, which recognizes individuals and organizations around the world working selflessly and tirelessly to bridge divides and foster solidarity among people and communities.
The ceremony coincides with the celebration of the UN-recognized International Day of Human Fraternity and the anniversary of the co-signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Prof. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, on 4 February 2019, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates.
In a letter of invitation, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, secretary-general of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, wrote: “We also look forward to holding a joint meeting on the sidelines of the ceremony to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation on issues related to human fraternity. It will be an opportunity to engage in an inspiring discussion with you on how to join forces together in the journey of human fraternity.”
This year’s awards go to the Kenyan activist Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil, and to the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic lay group.
Fadhil, known as “Mama Shamsa,” is a Kenyan community mobiliser and peace-builder. She has run campaigns in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa to raise awareness of violence against women, and worked for the empowerment of women and young people.
A statement released on Tuesday by the Zayed Award committee said that she had been recognised “for nurturing youth in Kenya and saving young people from lives of violence, crime, and extremism, by providing them with counselling, care, and training.”
The Community of Sant’Egidio, dedicated to humanitarian work, is being recognised for its “contribution to successful peace negotiations and conflict resolution through religious diplomacy and intercultural dialogue,” the community services it provides in different parts of the world, and its “Humanitarian Corridors” initiative, which brings refugees from war-torn countries to Europe.
“We express our gratitude and congratulations to the Kenyan activist Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil, and to the Community of Sant’Egidio,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, WCC general secretary. “This very dedicated people, working in the remotest and most vulnerable regions of the world, affected by violence, conflict, climate catastrophe and economic crises.”
Pillay added “We also appreciate the work of the Zayed Award committee in promoting and encouraging all the efforts for peace, reconciliation and human fraternity. Our world needs such initiatives that offer another narrative to the living together and celebrates our humanity amidst all the violence we are witnessing today.”