By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
A committee of experts has been formed by the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity to handle nominations for the 2021 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. The Higher Committee made the announcement on Monday.
Zayed Award for Human Fraternity
Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb were the first receipients of this award in 2019. Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced that the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity would become an annual event during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity. That event took place in Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2020, exactly one year to the date that the award’s first two recipients signed the historic Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace and Living Together.
Pope Francis encourages search for virtuous exemplars
In a video message released for the event, Pope Francis said he was “pleased to be able to participate in the presentation to the world of the International Human Fraternity Award, in hopes of encouraging all virtuous exemplars of men and women who in this world embody love through actions and sacrifices made for the good of others, no matter how different they may be in religion, or ethnic and cultural affiliation. And I ask Almighty God to bless every effort that benefits the good of humanity and helps us to move forward in fraternity”.
Award seeks people making breakthrough
A statement released by the Higher Committee says that the award was created in 2019 “to recognise outstanding work by individuals or entities in creating breakthroughs and driving human progress”.
The award recalls the heritage of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan. He is both the founder of the UAE and former ruler of Abu Dhabi. His “values of humility, humanitarianism and respect epitomise the enduring ideals it seeks to celebrate”, the statement says.
The Sheikh’s “journey embodied the values of co-operation and peaceful co-existence”, said Judge Mohamed Abdulsalam, the Secretary-General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, further explaining the reason why this award was named after this personage.
This is the first year that the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is open for nominations who are welcome from government, UN and international NGO leaders, Supreme Court judges, prominent figures from the world of academia and culture and members of the Higher Committee itself. An “independent committee of experts” appointed by the Higher Committee will choose the 2021 award winner from among the nominees. December 1 is the deadline for submission of nominees and February 4, 2021 is the date on which the winner or winners will be announced and awarded a prize in the amount of $1 million.
This committee includes: former President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza, former Vice-president of Indonesia Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, the 27th Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada Michaelle Jean, Cardinal Dominique Mamberti Cardinal, serving in the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal, and Adama Dieng a former UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide are the nominees for the 2021 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.
Regarding his appointment to the committee of experts, Adama Dieng said:
“We are delighted to invite nominations for the 2021 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. The award is an opportunity to recognise people around the world who are deeply committed to initiatives that bring people together and promote peaceful co-existence. The judging committee will consider people or entities anywhere in the world who are leading by example by collaborating selflessly and tirelessly, across divides, to deliver real and positive change.”
Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and member of the Higher Committee also commented:
“I am proud to be a member of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity because it is committed to bringing people everywhere together, in the spirit of peaceful co-existence and mutual advancement. Likewise, I am honoured to be associated with the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, which celebrates men and women who exemplify the imperative to break down barriers and work across divides to improve life for everyone.”
Higher Committee for Human Fraternity was created in the United Arab Emirates in August 2019. This Committee was “tasked with developing a framework to ensure the objectives of the global Declaration of Human Fraternity are realised. It will also prepare the necessary plans to implement the document, follow up on its implementation at regional and international levels, and hold meetings with religious leaders, heads of international organisations and others to support and spread the idea behind this historic document.”