By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
On 19 October, the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity launched the search for candidates for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.
Just a few days later, on Friday, the Judging Panel held its first meeting in Rome and were received by Pope Francis as well. Members of the team discussed the judging process, rules and criteria they will use in determining who the winner will be. The information was made public through a press release.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is “providing the opportunity to nominate all personalities and institutions that have made significant contributions to the service of humanity from around the world.” This is the first time that the award is open to nominations. Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar were the first recipients of the prize in 2019 in recognition of “their role in the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity.”
Those making up the panel of judges laud the Document as significant for all of humanity, “especially in light of the challenges and crises the world is going through.” They also expressed their appreciation for what the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity is doing to “promote the culture of coexistence, in addition to its initiative to support the award and set neutral criteria for its awarding.” Since the Higher Committee was formed by the United Arab Emirates, the panel also acknowledges the “UAE’s keenness to support the efforts aimed at realizing the objectives of the Document on Human Fraternity.”
Higher Committee Secretary General, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, said the award “will continue to strengthen the joint efforts for the good of humanity.” He explained that the award with be both annual and international in nature “for those who have passion for coexistence and peace all over the world”. The winner will be awarded in what he called a “prestigious annual ceremony” on 4 February, the anniversary of the signing of the historic Document on Human Fraternity.
Members of the panel include Mr Abdelsalam in his capacity as General Secretary of the Higher Committee. In addition, five independent members have been appointed. They include: Catherine Samba-Panza, former President of the Central African Republic; Michaelle Jean, former Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada and former head of the International Organization of La Francophonie; Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, former Vice-president of Indonesia and chairman of Indonesian Red Cross; Cardinal Dominique François Joseph Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature in the Vatican; and Adama Dieng, former UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.