The judges received 133 applications for the prize from over 1,020 events held in total. This is a remarkable effort given the effects of the Covid pandemic on each and every one of us. 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:
Launch of World Interfaith Harmony Week
Wellington Interfaith Council
Wellington, New Zealand
During WIHW, New Zealand was in a COVID alert level 1, meaning there was no need to practice social distancing, or wear face masks during this week. The launch was held at the Wellington Cenotaph, metres from the nation’s Parliament Buildings.
Held on the first day of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Monday 1 February, the launch marked the start of the week in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. All faiths represented at the events shared a prayer or message based on the theme of WIHW. The Executive Director from the Office of Ethnic Communities (a government agency) was invited to make an address at the event. The unique central location contributed to a range of people able to join the event - corporate people, civil society, public servants, faith groups, students and youth. Free public food distribution was provided for almost 200 people. Educational literature and holy texts of diverse religious faiths were displayed. The event provided an opportunity for people to dialogue and ask questions and be better informed about different faiths and practices.
The Religion and Politics Forum
The Religion and Politics Forum commemorated the World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 4th, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. The Forum was hosted by the organizing committee composed of several religious organizations, and participated in by around 40 people from over 10 religious organizations including a Muslim Imam, Christian pastors, a Buddhist priest and many other religious activists. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Kazuko Shiojiri, specialist of Islam theology and interfaith dialogue, who is a Professor Emeritus and Former Vice President, University of Tsukuba, on the theme of “Interfaith Dialogue and Islam.” She pointed out that misunderstanding and prejudice of Islam promoted Islamophobia and emphasized the importance of mutual understanding and dialogue among different religions and cultures for making peace. The forum gave an opportunity for various background participants to develop a deeper friendship and understanding.
Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies
New Delhi, India
On behalf of Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi, Fr Dr M. D. Thomas, its Director, envisaged different ways of celebrating the ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021’, in line with the declaration of the United Nations.
These engagements were intended for promoting awareness among the larger public, along with the participants, as regards the need of interfaith harmony and social wellbeing as well as of the core values of all traditions of faith, ideology and culture.
The programmes included video messages (on 4 portals), articles (blog and 3 websites) and lectures on connected themes (4 webinars).
Many, many congratulations to the winners and to all those who took part in World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021.
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 Emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; Former President of the Lutheran World Federation; Honorary President for Religions for Peace
- 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