UAE: Zayed Award for Human Fraternity judges choose honorees with grassroots connect

Both winners, 'Mama Shamsa' and humanitarian group from Italy, work hard to make a big difference in their own communities



Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM
by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 11:22 PM

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity judging committee took a conscious effort to pick the honorees for the 2023 edition from those working at the grassroots level.

Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil is a community mobiliser and peacebuilder in Kenya, and the Community of Sant’Egidio is a humanitarian group from Italy.

The honorees of the past editions have been high-profile public figures like Pope Francis, Dr Ahmed Al-Tayeb (2019), Antonio Guterres (2021), King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan (2022). Lesser-known winners were Latifa Ibn Ziaten (2021) and Haitian humanitarian organisation FOKAL (2022) but in different editions of the Award. However, this is for the first time that two honorees have been picked for their work at grassroots levels.

Photos: Ashwani
Photos: Ashwani

“Yes, in a way this is a major shift. Almost all jury members were convinced that we should try to strengthen the grassroot work that can eventually bring hope in the communities in their respective countries. Similar organisations and individuals could also be inspired in their work by being the Award winners,” Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate and child rights activist, who is on the judging committee, told Khaleej Times.

Satyarthi noted the current honorees are “extraordinary” selections from among the vast number for nominations received the Award.

“We received many nominations from grass root organisations and workers who are working for peace and children, women and tribal issues, interfaith dialogues, community work etc. So, then we have zeroed down on these two. They were the best. Their work not only in the past, but in the future will help in strengthening humanity and principles of human fraternity, which are laid down in the Document of Human Fraternity.”

Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Moratinos, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, revealed that as many as 150 nominees were considered.

“We came to the conclusion to have one individual and one organisation. At times we forget about the organisation that also implements the human fraternity message.”

Moratinos said the judges felt that this time the Award should be given to someone who has been contributing and will get inspired by the honour.

“We were not only thinking of the big personality, but the ones who really represent the core ideas that are included in the Document of Human Fraternity. And then we thought that a woman or their role should be recognised,” Moratinos added.

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