Human fraternity is antidote to world conflicts, Pope Francis says to Zayed Award judges

Pontiff tells 2024 judging committee award promotes human fraternity on a global scale

Pope Francis poses for a photo with the 2024 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity judging committee at the Vatican. Photo: Human Fraternity
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Pope Francis on Monday said that human fraternity is the antidote to conflicts plaguing the world today.

The comment was made in conversation with the judges for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.

The award allocates $1 million to a person, group or organisation from any walk of life working to further peaceful coexistence in the world.

It was first established on February 4, 2019, to mark the meeting between Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed Al Tayeb in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking at the Vatican during a meeting with the 2024 judging committee, the Pope said the award is important for bridging gaps during times of conflict.

“Human fraternity is imperative for our contemporary world, especially in the midst of ongoing conflicts,” he said.

“In wars, everyone loses, and it is the innocent who pay the price.

“Human fraternity is the antidote to the conflicts and crises plaguing our world today.”

Pope Francis, who is an honorary recipient of the award, also encouraged the judging committee members – who collectively represent Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America – to promote the values of human fraternity both through the award and through their respective fields.

The judging committee expressed their gratitude to Pope Francis for his continued support.

“Ahead of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar signing the historic Document on Human Fraternity, we truly appreciate today's meeting and inspiring conversation with Pope Francis, who has strengthened our resolve to carry out the values of human fraternity in our work together and apart,” said judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.

Irina Bokova, former director-general of Unesco and former Bulgarian minister, said the judging committee inspires others to promote a more peaceful world.

“I am pleased that the members of the judging committee share a common approach and understanding of the values of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, which aims to honour every day heroes of human fraternity, compassion and empathy, while also inspiring others to follow in their footsteps toward a more peaceful world,” she said.

Other members of the independent judging committee include Rebecca Grynspan Mayufis, chief of the UN Conference on Trade and Development; chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Rabbi Abraham Cooper; former president of Indonesia Megawati Sukarnoputri; and prefect emeritus of the Holy See Dicastery for Oriental Churches Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.

The previous award recipients in 2021 were UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Moroccan-French activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten.

The judging committee is in Rome to continue its deliberations on the 2024 award, with the winners to be announced during a ceremony in February.

Previous winners of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity

Updated: December 21, 2023, 9:09 AM