Abu Dhabi: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has today been honoured as ‘Man of Humanity’ by the Pontifical Foundation Gravissimum Educationis (Foundation), an education support foundation created by Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church.
Sheikh Mohamed was honoured for his tireless support and international aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he provided support to 135 countries, and sent supplies on 200 flights.
The award was announced by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Foundation, and Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the education ministry at the Vatican. It was received by Sheikh Shakhbout bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of State, during a ceremony at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Addressing the attendees, Cardinal Versaldi said the Foundation, which runs more than 216,000 Catholic schools and 1,700 Catholic universities across the world, had also signed an agreement with the UAE Ministry of Education to “take on the challenge of education”. The agreement was signed by the Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education.
“It is education that will contribute to awakening a fraternal generation and [contribute to] a peaceful world. His Holiness Pope Francis also says that in order to change the world, we must first change education,” Cardinal Versaldi said.
Collaboration with UAE
The Vatican City official was earlier today greeted by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. The officials discussed ways to enhance relations between the UAE and the Vatican, and to promote peace and security globally.
Cardinal Versaldi expressed his deep appreciation for the UAE's leadership and people, and their role in supporting the spread of peace around the world, and commended its approach that is founded on tolerance and coexistence.
The Vatican City delegation’s visit follows Pope Francis historic visit to Abu Dhabi in February 2019, when the head of the Catholic Church met with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb. This meeting also saw the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.
“The signing of this document a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, proved to be visionary and prophetic, as it opened new pathways of collaboration for the world,” Cardinal Versaldi said.