It is not often we get the chance to report good news from the Middle East, but King Abdullah II of Jordan has been awarded a Peace Prize in Germany. He was awarded the Westphalian Peace Prize for 2016, and has just received the award in the German city of Muenster from the German President Joachim Gauck. He was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife, Her Majesty Queen Rania, after the award the couple, accompanied by the President waved from the balcony of the City Hall to the crowds below.
King Abdullah received the award for his work for not only his work with the Middle East peace process, but also the welcome he and his people have given to refugees escaping the conflict. The President when presenting the award said “You and your people have set the standard for humanitarianism and humanity.” The King has strived for peace all through his reign, and has met with Pope Benedict XVI to build on work is father had started with Pope John Paul II to try and ensure Christians and Moslems work towards a peaceful co-existence.
He has also been involved with most of the peace processes that have occurred within the Middle East this century and is now considered to be the most influential Muslim in the world. His work also crosses faith boundaries it has been announced that he will fund repairs to Christ’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The award is given by the Economic Society of Westphalia and Lippe every two years to either individuals or groups who that have become models of extraordinary peace work in Europe and the World. Past winners of the award include in 2008 former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and a group who always bring a brilliant and stirring concert to the BBC Proms season – Daniel Barenboim and his East-West Divan Orchestra. An orchestra of Jewish and Palestinian musicians, they won the award in 2010.