May the 2022 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity be for its recipients an “encouragement to persevere in their efforts on behalf of unity and peace in the world”, Pope Francis said in a video message on Saturday, 26 February, on the occasion of the award ceremony for the conferral of the recognition which this year was jointly assigned to the Royals of Jordan, King Abdullah ii Ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, and to the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty of Haiti (fokal ). Promoted by the High Committee for Human Fraternity, the award aims “to recognize and reward the efforts of individuals and institutions committed to advancing the progress of humanity and the promotion of peaceful coexistence”. Addressing the recipients, the jury and the Grand Iman of Al-Azhar, who signed the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” along with the Pope on 4 February 2019, the Holy Father recalled the recent celebration of the International Day dedicated to this theme, describing it as “yet another step forward in our common journey of fraternity”.
Pope Francis thanked Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “for his support of the work of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which seeks to spread the values and principles of the Document throughout the world and to achieve its goals” and highlighted that the award “in memory of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who founded the United Arab Emirates in 1971” aims “to recognize and reward the efforts of individuals and institutions committed to advancing the progress of humanity and the promotion of peaceful coexistence”.
In his message, Pope Francis called on recipients “to uphold the values of love, the values born of love, the values of tolerance and the values of fraternity”. Their example, he said, “can motivate others to undertake initiatives to advance peaceful coexistence and serve as a sign of fruitful cooperation between men and women of different religions in the service of all humanity”.
The Holy Father commended “the efforts made by Their Royal Highnesses in welcoming a great number of refugees, in promoting the values of coexistence and dialogue between different religious traditions, countering forms of discrimination and working for the emancipation of young people and women”, thanking them for helping “to make the Kingdom of Jordan a model of tolerance and coexistence”. The award, he added, “is a recognition that extends to the entire Jordanian people, who with determination and courage, even amid great difficulties, pursue the path of peace, moderation and the rejection of violence”.
Congratulating fokal , which, thanks to the efforts of its founder and President Michèle Pierre-Louis, “has been committed to the service of the common good through the defence of human rights, and in particular the right to education”, since 1995, the Holy Father expressed his continued closeness in prayer to the people of Haiti. He thanked fokal for its “dedication in working for a more humane society, built on the value of fraternity” and for its concern “for new generations and their formation, since through them true change can come about in society”. There is a need for passion and creativity in order “to restore to Haiti the concrete prospect of a better future. The Haitian people have suffered all too much as a result of so many natural disasters, social problems and humanitarian emergencies”, he stressed. The video message concluded with an invitation to pray for the Caribbean island nation, whose people, “are good people, fine people, religious people, yet they suffer so greatly”.