Pope urges Zayed Award judging committee to act on human fraternity, women’s rights

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Pope Francis urged the Judging Committee of the 2023 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity to act to advance women’s rights, during their visit to the Vatican.

“Your work is important in advancing the message of human fraternity,” the head of the Catholic Church, who is a 2019 honorary recipient of the award, told the judging committee members at the Vatican.

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“It is important in your work to uphold the dignity of women as women’s rights are often outlined on paper, but not practiced in reality,” he added, highlighting the ongoing crisis in Haiti, urging the international community to support the country.

The judging committee members, comprised of six people, expressed appreciation for the signing of the historic ‘Document on Human Fraternity’ in 2019 alongside the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Professor Ahmed al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi.

The members of the independent judging committee are United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos; former Vice President of Costa Rica Dr. Epsy Campbell Barr; Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization at the Holy See Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi; 2015 Nobel Peace Laureate and entrepreneur Dr. Ouided Bouchamaoui; and Zayed Award for Human Fraternity Secretary-General and Muslim Council of Elders Secretary-General Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.

“We are extremely grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for his continued support of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. His Holiness presents a real and unique example of a man of peace and continues to bring people together from different walks of life, with the feeling that we are all members of the same human family,” Judge Abdelsalam said in a statement on Monday.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is an annual international prize that recognizes people and organizations from any background who work to improve human connection and promote peaceful coexistence. This award was established in 2019 to commemorate the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during which they signed the Document on Human Fraternity.

The award is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, who was known for his humanitarianism and commitment to helping people regardless of their background.

Some previous recipients of the award include Pope Francis and Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb (honorary recipients) in 2019, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Moroccan-French activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten in 2021, and Their Majesties King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan, and the Haitian humanitarian organization FOKAL in 2022.

The committee is currently in Rome to decide on the 2023 honoree(s), which will be announced next month and receive a prize of $1 million to support their efforts and continue their work in promoting human fraternity, collaboration, and progress.

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