His Majesty King Abdullah II Receives the First Pope John Paul II Peace Prize

November 17, 2005

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) In recognition of his efforts in prompting peace and inter-religious dialogue between faiths, His Majesty King Abdullah II, on Wednesday, 16th of November, was awarded the first Pope John Paul II Peace Prize at an international event in Washington DC honoring the late Pontiff.

Speaking in a televised message aired during the ceremony, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, said: “…even if I am not there in person, I feel the connection between us. Because community is not defined by proximity. It stems from the values we share.”

She added, “And no one personified that belief better than Pope John Paul II… as we saw in his Jubilee Pilgrimage in Jordan… and later, his visit to a mosque… when he showed by example what crossing the threshold of cultural respect really means.”

Commending the work of the organisation presenting the award, Her Majesty spoke of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and its efforts in continuing the late Pontiff’s legacy.

“Your work is based on the simple idea that we all are endowed with dignity… and that if we honor that dignity in one another, we can build a true community among us,” said Queen Rania.

In honor of the life and work of the late Pontiff, the Center established the Legacy Fund to enable it to implement programs that are significant, timely and relevant to the challenges facing the world, such as inter-religious inquiry, inter-cultural dialogue and educational opportunities that promote human rights, justice and peace.

The Fund includes the Pacem in Terris scholarship program, which has supported a number of Jordanian students.

In her message, the Queen stressed Jordan’s commitment to inter-religious peace and dialogue in the wake of the Amman bombings which took place the previous week, saying: “Our hearts are heavy in the wake of our loss… but our focus is clearer than ever.”

She went on to add: “Our people have shown we will stand united for tolerance and freedom. And part of that means speaking out for inter-religious peace.”

Citing the Kingdom’s efforts taken in this regard, Queen Rania also spoke of the Amman Message, issued last November, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, which, focused on the value Islam places on moderation, social equality and respect for human life.

In her address, Queen Rania also shed light on how Jordan is working to change the global perception of Islam, with His Majesty hosting an international Islamic conference in July of this year, where scholars from all eight schools of Islamic thought came together to reject violence and extremism.

Queen Rania also reiterated the need for the international community to come together and unite in the face of the current global challenges.

“In these turbulent times, in the face of those who are trying to blow us apart, let us hold fast to the values that bind our human family together,” adding: “You and I do not have to be in one room to know that we live in one world. And none of us has to speak the same language to spread the same message of peace.”

Her Majesty had been scheduled to travel to the US, earlier this week, to participate in a number of events aimed at promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and strengthening relations between community-based organisations, but called off the trip in the wake of the attacks, preferring to stay beside and amongst her people, during these difficult times.