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Pope Francis, Grand Imam of al-Azhar receive Zayed Award for Human Fraternity

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Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, spoke of the need for global friendship and solidarity with world nations as he and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar received the trophy for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternities.

Pope Francis was given the honor – an independent global award recognizing people and organizations who have made profound contributions to human progress and peaceful co-existence - alongside the Grand Imam of al-Azar Ahmed al-Tayeb.

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Th award was established in February 2019 to mark the historic moment between Pope Francis and Professor al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi, when the two religious leaders signed the landmark Document on Human Fraternity under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and patron of human fraternity.

Pope Francis receives the trophy for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. (Supplied)
Pope Francis receives the trophy for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. (Supplied)

They in turn became the first honorary recipients of the Zayed Awards for Human Fraternity.

Pope Francis met with the judging committee for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022 - the third edition of the award - on Wednesday at the Vatican, emphasizing to the jury how important their work is for the world.

Pope Francis meets with Zayed Award jury. (Supplied)
Pope Francis meets with Zayed Award jury. (Supplied)

Pope Francis called his historic meeting with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates the “first step” along the path of human fraternity.

Pope Francis told the jury that “we have to maintain and sustain” the meeting and its message, embodied in the Document on Human Fraternity.

The ZAHF judging committee members expressed to the Pope their deep appreciation for his support for the committee.

The independent Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022 judging committee includes former president of Niger and winner of the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership Mahamadou Issoufou, 1996 Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta, former Deputy President of South Africa and former UN Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Cardinal Michael Czerny, president of the Aladdin Project Leah Pisar, and Secretary-General of the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity (HCHF) Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.

Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb receives trophy for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternities. (Supplied)
Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb receives trophy for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternities. (Supplied)

Judge Abdelsalam, former adviser to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar and the first Arab Muslim to receive the Catholic pope’s highest honor, said: “It is an honor for the judging committee to meet with His Holiness Pope Francis, whose joint path of human fraternity alongside the Grand Imam of al-Azhar serves as inspiration to the committee and to the world, which is suffering from humanitarian and health crises, as well as the plagues of selfishness, inequality, and injustice.”

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity aims to advance human fraternity values – what Pope Francis has called “the challenge of our century” – by recognizing individuals and entities who have made profound contributions to advancing human fraternity values and peaceful coexistence.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is named in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates. The values the award celebrates reflect Sheikh Zayed’s dedication to working closely with people from all backgrounds, his moral legacy, humanitarianism, and respect for others and helping them, regardless of their religion, gender, race, or nationality.

The nominations process for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022 will close on December 1, 2021 and the honoree(s) will be announced on February 4, 2022.

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