The International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, a Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental organization that utilizes commonly-held religious principles to enhance diplomacy in areas of conflict, will present its 2013 Faith-in-Action Award to Rabbi Jack Bemporad. Bemporad, a Holocaust refugee from Italy, is the Executive Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, a non-profit that works for honest dialogue, mutual respect and theological understanding among all religious faiths.
ICRD’s annual Faith-in-Action Award pays tribute to exceptional individuals who advance human rights and religious reconciliation around the world. The mission of the non-profit is to prevent or resolve ethnic, tribal, and other identity-based conflicts that exceed the reach of traditional diplomacy by incorporating religious considerations into the solution.
“Jack’s role as the primary writer of the Prague Accord (the first official statement in which the Vatican asked forgiveness of the Jewish people for past acts of anti-Semitism) facilitated a turning point in history. His work to develop full diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the State of Israel has had tremendous impact,” said Dr. Douglas Johnston, President of ICRD.
The award will be presented at a May 31st dinner at the home of Ray Mahmood, Ambassador-at-Large for Pakistan, and Shaista Mahmood, a member of the ICRD Board of Directors. Visit www.icrd.org for details and tickets.
Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, will be the keynote speaker. He will discuss his research on “the war on terror” and his experiences as a journalist, including his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden, in which bin Laden declared war on the United States.
“This year when we gather international leaders from diverse religious traditions and business sectors, we will be thinking of and honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing,” said Shaista Mahmood. “The ICRD vision is of a world with less religious-based political violence and more unified, global cooperation through strengthened relationships.”
“It is important to ICRD to honor those helping us utilize religious reconciliation to minimize the occasions in which we are forced to send our sons and daughters in harm’s way, and to create a stable global environment that will support the kind of economic growth that can benefit an expanding percentage of the world’s population,” said Board Chairman Harold Jacobi.
About the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy
Since its inception in 1999, ICRD has been using commonly-shared religious values to bridge differences between adversaries. Among its accomplishments, it (1) helped end the 21-year civil war in Sudan, (2) eased religious tensions between the Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist regions of Kashmir, (3) opened back-channel communications to promote improved relations with Iran, (4) played an instrumental role in securing the release of 21 Korean missionaries held hostage by the Afghan Taliban in 2007, and (5) over the past 7 years, has engaged more than 2,700 Pakistani madrasa leaders in reforming the curriculums and pedagogy of their religious schools to develop critical thinking skills among the students and to inspire greater adherence to the principles of religious tolerance and human rights. The Center is also working with Syrian opposition leaders (at their request) to help them resolve their differences through a process of faith-based reconciliation.