Delegates from Indonesia's largest Islamic organisations at the press conference announcing the winners of the Zayed Prize 2024. On the left that of Nahdlatul Ulama, in the centre that of Muhammadiyah Delegates from Indonesia's largest Islamic organisations at the press conference announcing the winners of the Zayed Prize 2024. On the left that of Nahdlatul Ulama, in the centre that of Muhammadiyah 

Zayed Award winners and judges share joy and gratitude

Representatives of the two Indonesian organizations that won the 2024 Zayed Award tell Vatican News that the honour provides a renewed impulse to persevere in interreligious dialogue and support others.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov and Alessandro Di Bussolo

The 2024 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity has been awarded to Sister Nelly León Correa, a Chilean nun working with prisoners; Dr. Magdi Yacoub, an Egyptian cardiothoracic surgeon; and, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, two leading Indonesian Islamic organizations.

This year's award falls on the fifth anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which Pope Francis signed in 2019 with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, during the Pope's visit to the United Arab Emirates. That Document would serve as the inspiration for the Pope's subsequent encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Great gratitude of the winners

Ahead of the awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi, winners and judges of the prize commission spoke to Vatican News' Alessandro Di Bussolo about the importance of this year’s hounor.

Mr. Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, head of Nahdlatul Ulama's national structure, represented the organization at the ceremony. 

The executive, who also promotes interreligious dialogue in his capacity at the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP), spoke about the great importance of the prize to him and his organization. He said the Award will help further their humanitarian work which crosses across faiths, and discussed how it will enable them to continue their commitment in Indonesia.

"This award," he said, "will help us in pursuing more initiatives for the humanitarian work. It will help us develop better our educational institutions, and our services for society, through hospitals, orphanages, and colleges. It will help us perform more good work in the future."

"The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity," he said, "is like an equivalent of a Nobel Peace Prize from Muslim world. I'm really delighted and very honoured."

Listen to interview with Ulil Abshar-Abdalla of Winner Nahdlatul Ulama:

Meanwhile, Mr. Syafiq A. Mughni, delegate of Zayed Award Winner, Muhammadiyah, also expressed his great joy for the honour bestowed. 

The representative, who has held leading roles in the organisation, and is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and the introduction of moderate Islam in Indonesia and abroad, said the Prize will make it possible to continue helping others and promoting an environment of peaceful coexistence.

"It is a kind of recognition that what we are doing is worthy of the development and investment of human life, and with this award, we have to work stronger to elevate human conditions."

Listen to interview with Syafiq A. Mughni of Winner Muhammadiyah:

Award Commission juror, Irina Bokova, expressed her delight for each of the winners, and shed light why each of their witness left a great impact on the judges.

She especially thanked the Indonesian winners for their "very impressive work" of "social inclusion" at "such a great scale."

In a special way, she praised Sister Nelly's closeness to the women in the prison during the lockdown, acknowledging that this was not a simple task, and that she offered them hope and help, even assisting them to reintegrate afterward with their families.

She also expressed gratitude for the "great heart" of Dr. Yacoub, willing to help those in need. 

Even when they lacked the means or finances, Dr. Yacoub's healthcare and medical support extended beyond Egypt to many other countries, especially in Africa, helping to cure many.

"He gives them hope, life, and an example to follow," she said.

Listen to Award Commission juror, Irina Bokova, discuss the significance of this year's winners:

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

05 February 2024, 12:08