Abu Dhabi: The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity judging committee announced on Tuesday the Community of Sant’Egidio and Kenyan peacebuilder Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil as co-honourees of the 2023 award.
Now in its fourth edition, the award recognizes the two co-honourees for their contributions to building a more peaceful and compassionate world by advancing the values of human fraternity, and setting an inspiring example of promoting peaceful coexistence.
Community of Sant' Egidio
The Community of Sant’Egidio is a humanitarian association based in Rome, Italy with representative offices in 73 countries across Europe, Africa, the United States, and Asia. The association is being recognised for their contribution to successful peace negotiations and conflict resolution through religious diplomacy and intercultural dialogue, and thus promoting peace in various places from Guatemala to Mozambique. It also provides community services, supports impoverished communities, and assists refugees, including their integration into host societies through their ‘Humanitarian Corridors’ initiative.
A community mobiliser and peacebuilder in Kenya, Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil — known as ‘Mama Shamsa’ — is being recognised for nurturing youth in Kenya and saving young people from lives of violence, crime, and extremism. She has provided them with counselling, care, and training. Fadhil has also led major campaigns in Kenya and greater Africa to draw awareness to violence against women, and championed women and youth empowerment.
Independent judging committee
This year’s award was decided by an independent judging committee composed of international experts in promoting peace and human rights, namely United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations Miguel Ángel Moratinos; former Vice President of Costa Rica Dr Epsy Campbell Barr; Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelisation at the Holy See His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi; 2015 Nobel Peace Laureate and entrepreneur Dr Ouided Bouchamaoui; and secretary-general of Zayed Award for Human Fraternity and secretary -general of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.
“This year’s honourees are truly outstanding leaders that are dedicating their lives to address division, build resilient communities and cultivate compassion and hope. The Community of Sant’Egidio and Mama Shamsa have transformed the lives of vulnerable and marginalized peoples in societies around the world, including youth, refugees, and those living in conflict zones,” Abdelsalam said.
“By granting the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity to the Community of Sant’Egidio and Mama Shamsa, we hope to amplify their efforts and inspire other institutions and individuals around the world to play an active role in promoting the values of human fraternity,” he added.
“Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb outlined indispensable and noble principles for humanity in the Document on Human Fraternity. This year’s honourees demonstrate how ordinary people and entities can put these principles into practice — namely, with a dedication to serving others in recognition that we are all members of one human family,” Moratinos said.
“This year’s co-honourees demonstrate how people committed to working together for the common good can help heal our wounded world. It is the hope of the judging committee that the efforts of Sant’Egidio and Mama Shamsa will inspire us all to lead lives of service, humility, and compassion,” Tagle added.
“From over 200 nominees of outstanding individuals and entities, we chose the Community of Sant’Egidio and Mama Shamsa as the honourees of the award, which is named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, who was a champion of all humanity — young, old, rich, poor, male and female,” Bouchamaoui said.
The co-recipients will be honoured during an award ceremony on February 4, 2023 — the UN-recognised International Day of Human Fraternity — in Abu Dhabi.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, which includes a $1 million (Dh3.67 million) prize, is an annual independent international award that recognises people and entities of all backgrounds who are working selflessly and tirelessly across divides to advance the timeless values of solidarity, integrity, fairness, and optimism, and thus creating breakthroughs towards peaceful coexistence.
The award was launched in 2019 to mark the historic meeting in Abu Dhabi between His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, during which they co-signed the Document on Human Fraternity.
The award is named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, renowned for his humanitarianism and dedication to helping people no matter their background.