It is the third anniversary of the United Nations' launching of the International Day of Human Fraternity in compliance with a request presented by several Arab countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Arab Republic of Egypt. It has become a new important anniversary on the path of dialogue and encounter, especially as human fraternity on this very day commemorates the 4th anniversary of the signing of the important Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and Sheikh of Al-Azhar His Eminence Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyib during their visit to Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019.
An annual award called the “Zayed Award for Human Fraternity” was launched in 2019 and bestowed on His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb and His Holiness Pope Francis as an honorary award. In 2021, the award was bestowed on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Moroccan-French activist Latifa Ibn Zayatin. In 2022, the award was bestowed on His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, in addition to the Foundation of Knowledge and Freedom (FOCAL) in Haiti. In 2023, the award was bestowed on the Community of Sant' Edigio and Kenyan peace activist Shamsa Abu Bakr Fadil, who is nicknamed Mama Shamsa.
However, this day is not marked separately as it coincides with a harmony week that was announced in 2010 by the United Nations after His Majesty King Abdullah II, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Ibn Mohammad, presented a proposal to launch a world week of religions on the first week of February. And this has been the case, as we consequently have marked the Week of Interfaith Harmony which was launched 13 years ago, and associated with the 4th anniversary of the International Day of Human Fraternity.
The question that arises today is do we need harmony in our time? Definitely yes. Our world is neither ugly nor perfect. It always needs to be enlightened by these luminous initiatives, in order to remind the younger generations especially of the duty regarding mutual respect, mutual love, and mutual appreciation for all the traditional and heritage treasures inherited by grandchildren from their parents and grandparents in order to write new stories and lay new foundations for a perfect human structure.
As for the role of the media, which is the issue relevant to the seminar that was held recently by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in cooperation with Caritas Jordan to mark the International Day of Human Fraternity and the Week of Interfaith Harmony, it is of extreme necessity as it marks the emergence of harmony and human fraternity, because media nowadays is being handled by everyone whereby it is regrettable that it sometimes undermines fraternity, human dignity, and harmony among peoples. Yet, it can serve truth, beauty, goodness, and morality, and thus be a servant for the building of harmony and brotherhood among human beings within respect of their beliefs, religious symbols, traditions, customs, and rites.
The CCSM, which marks its 10th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of launching abouna.org websites, Media in the Service of Humanity, has taken upon itself to mark the World Interfaith Harmony Week and the International Day of Human Fraternity with a gathering of intellectual people as well as Christian and Islamic clerics who are concerned that religion serve always as a factor of love and peace, rather than division and strife.