The judges received 170 applications for the prize from over 1,454 events held in total. The judges are highly appreciative of all the efforts of all those who held events and applied for the prize. They wish they could reward all who held an event, but are consoled by the fact that good deeds are their own reward so that everyone who held an event—whether they applied for the prize or not—is a true winner.
In judging, the judges took into consideration the excellence of efforts, collaboration and impact of events. They looked carefully at efforts made despite scantiness of resources, but also took into consideration consistent efforts made over the years. They further took into consideration whether events were consistent with the text of the UN Resolution establishing the Prize. Accordingly, judges did not reward movements towards religious syncretism but rather rewarded events which respected each religion as it is. Finally, in accordance with the terms of the Prize, judges rewarded events specifically celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony Week rather than good interfaith work in general.
Accordingly, the judges are delighted to announce:
Love of Neighbour - our Prayers for our City
Cape Town Interfaith Initiative
This year, for the first time, the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative took the prayers from the places of worship to the people. We decided that from now on, every year we will identify a troubled location and take our prayers there. The violence in some of our suburbs is so bad that "death by violence" daily figures are considerably higher than those in war zones in other parts of Africa.
The prayers should touch the people and include the people who need their upliftment. Also, we raise the consciousness of neighbourliness, so that people become aware of their responsibility to their neighbour. We become each others' neighbours even when we do not live next door to each other, but rather live in the next suburb.
The traditions represented included Buddhist, Baha'i, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Hare Krishna, Brahma Kumaris and Unitarian. Everyone had a turn to pray or sing or bring a poem - anything that would contribute to the sense of unity and encouragement that we wanted to generate.
Interreligious Committee of Rome
Leaders from different faiths (Buddhist, Catholic, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Orthodox, Christian Reformed) signed a Manifesto to ensure religious and spiritual support to sick people in health structures like hospitals, hospices or at home during the final phase of their life.
The Italian Ministry of Health Giulia Grillo attended the ceremony of signature and underlined that the Manifesto is a very important issue for the Dialogue and the Cooperation between the different religions and faiths. The Italian government will promote this initiative to uphold the dignity of dying people and the religious and spiritual support at the end of life.
URI Cooperation Circle Brasilia
On February 7, the URI Global Council Trustee Salette Aquino joined the table in a Public Audience in the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District of Brazil to celebrate the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week. The activity was co-organized by the URI Cooperation Circle Brasilia, and on the occasion the CC officially delivered a request to the Human Rights Commission to create the Parliamentary Front of Religious Diversity, a requirement that was accepted.
Dr. Wijetunge led a special initiative of introducing UN WIHW in Sri Lanka through SUNFO Global Federation and its Sustainable Development Goals Networks of Youth, Children, Women & Citizens. These initiatives involved ministers in charge of Religious Affairs in Sri Lanka, key religious leaders, society leaders, media, students and youth. The activities were organised around: (a) Public Awareness & Mobilizations in Sri Lanka, (b) Inter-religious dialogues in Sri Lanka, (c) Inter-religious Social and community activities in Sri Lanka, (d) Inter-religious Harmony Peace Missions out of Sri Lanka.
This was all endorsed by His Excellency Maithreepala Sirisena President of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Hon. Karu Jayasuriya Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
Many, many congratulations to the winners and to all those who took part in World Interfaith Harmony Week 2019.
The prize-giving ceremony will take place in April, 2019 in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
All Praise belongs to God Alone.
- HRH Princess Areej Ghazi
- HB Patriarch Theophilus III – Patriarch of the Holy City, Palestine and Jordan
- HE Sheikh Dr Ali Gomaa – former Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt
- HE Bishop Munib Yunan – Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and President of the World Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
- Sheikh Usama al-Sayyid Al-Azhari – Professor at Al-Azhar University
- Father Nabil Haddad – Founder and Executive Director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Centre
- Dr Minwer Al-Mheid – Director of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought