UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
12 JUNE 2007
I am personally very touched to receive this Award. It is a great honor for me. I am humbled to be in the company of such distinguished previous honorees, and be the first recipient from the Muslim world.
I would like to thank His Excellency Archbishop Celestino Migliore - President of the Path to Peace Foundation, and the Board of Directors for selecting me for this prestigious award.
The Path to Peace Foundation has an excellent record in promoting development, human rights, inter-religious dialogue and drawing attention to humanitarian emergencies around the world.
I would also like to recognize the invaluable work of the Holy See in furthering the universal values of tolerance, peace and freedom – the core values of the United Nations.
Promoting a true dialogue among civilizations and religions is perhaps the most important political instrument that we can use to reach out across borders and build bridges of peace and hope.
We are, of course, all part of one large human family.
It is my firm belief that;
The challenge for us all on many of these issues – in particular for the leaders among us – is to develop a form of dialogue to better understand ‘each other’.
I know a lot of positive work is being done in this area. But we have more to do to overcome mistrust and promote greater cooperation.
Together – no matter what our religious affiliations are - we can work towards our common goals with love, compassion, humility and vision – and bring about real change.
Finally, may I take this opportunity once again to thank the Path to Peace Foundation for this award.
Thank you very much.