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Members Of Human Fraternity Higher Committee Present Updates On Abrahamic Family House

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, a group of religious leaders, educational scholars and cultural leaders from across the world, met with Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb, for the first time to present updates on the Abrahamic Family House, one of the first projects the Higher Committee will help guide, to be located in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

This meeting comes at the time of the announcement of the addition of Irina Bokova, the former Director-General of UNESCO, to the committee.

Bokova served as UNESCO’s Director-General, for two terms, from 2009 to 2017, during which she earned a reputation for advocating strongly for religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. In addition, Bokova was Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, and the Unesco, and as Representative of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

The Higher Committee presented the Abrahamic Family House to Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb in the Vatican, a project that reflects the aspirations behind the Document on Human Fraternity. A church, mosque and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures. The design of the Abrahamic Family House was awarded to globally renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, in September 2019.

It is one of the first projects the Higher Committee will help guide, in addition to their role in stewarding the principles and aspirations of the Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar in Abu Dhabi, during the historic Papal visit in February 2019.

The meeting also addressed the addition of Irina Bokova, who in her capacity as a member of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, will use her renowned ability and unmatched international experience to help the committee deliver on the goals and objectives set out in the Document of Human Fraternity.

Through a joint statement, The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity said, "Throughout her career, Bokova has proven herself to be a champion of tolerance and inter-community coexistence. She brings with her a wealth of invaluable experience in the coordination of programmes and initiatives at an international level that will be instrumental in achieving the aims of the Higher Committee."

Commenting on the announcement, Irina Bokova said, "I am honored to join this eminent body of religious and cultural leaders with the aim of achieving the objectives of the historic Document of Human Fraternity, which, in a world so in need of dialogue and mutual respect, is vital."

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity includes members from the UAE, Spain, Italy, Egypt, the US, and today Bulgaria. The members are: Cardinal Miguel Àngel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See; Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Former Advisor to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation; Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Personal Secretary of the Holy Father; Professor Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, President of Al-Azhar University; Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture – Abu Dhabi; Dr. Sultan Faisal Al Remeithi, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders; and Yasser Hareb, an Emirati writer and TV presenter.

The Higher Committee also added, "On the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance, we are happy to welcome Irina Bokova to support the members of the committee in promoting coexistence, brotherhood, and tolerance throughout the world."

The purpose of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity is to inspire peaceful coexistence among people of different faiths, backgrounds, and nationalities across the world. The committee will act on the aspirations outlined in the Document of Human Fraternity by holding meetings with religious leaders, heads of international organizations, and others to encourage actions that will create a more peaceful world for all humankind.

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity will continue to expand to incorporate leaders of other denominations and beliefs in the coming years.

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