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Bridges – Eastern European Forum for Dialogue Wins H.M. King Abdullah II World Interfaith Harmony Week Prize 2024

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The H.M. King Abdullah II World Interfaith Harmony Week Prize for 2024 has been awarded to Bridges – Eastern European Forum for Dialogue, based in Bulgaria, for their outstanding event titled “Gift of Love: An Interfaith Art Performance Promoting Harmony and Tolerance.”

This prestigious award recognizes the exceptional efforts made by organizations to promote interfaith harmony and understanding, in line with the goals of the World Interfaith Harmony Week established by the United Nations.

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The World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), proposed by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan at the UN General Assembly in 2010 and adopted unanimously on October 20 of the same year, designates the first week of February as a time to promote dialogue and cooperation among different faith traditions. The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan established the World Interfaith Harmony Week Prize in 2013 to honor events during this week that best embody its objectives.

In 2024, a total of 1180 events were held globally in observance of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, reflecting the widespread commitment to fostering interfaith understanding and cooperation. Among these events, 59 reports were submitted for consideration for the H.M. King Abdullah II World Interfaith Harmony Week Prize.

The judging panel, consisting of esteemed individuals such as H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and H.B. Patriarch Theophilus III, carefully evaluated the submissions based on criteria such as the excellence of efforts, collaboration, impact, and adherence to the principles outlined in the UN Resolution establishing the Prize. They awarded the top prize to Bridges – Eastern European Forum for Dialogue for their exceptional contribution.

The winning event, “Gift of Love,” was a captivating interfaith art performance held at Plovdiv’s Bishop’s Cathedral on February 9th. This event brought together 56 youth participants from diverse religious backgrounds, including Armenian, Muslim, Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, and pagan traditions. Under the patronage of Her Excellency Ambassador Andrea Ikić-Böhm and the Embassy of the Republic of Austria, the performance showcased a variety of artistic expressions such as paintings, dances, musical performances, and poetry.

The core messages conveyed through the artistic mediums included love for God, compassion for fellow beings, solidarity with global communities, and a spirit of acceptance and tolerance towards individuals from different faiths. The event exemplified the spirit of unity and cooperation that lies at the heart of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Angelina Vladikova, President of Bridges-Eastern Europe for Dialogue, said after learning about winning the first prize, “During the last four years we were organizing art performances on the occasion of the WIHW. For four years we were applying for the Prince Award of Jordan – not because we wanted to win the prize, but because we wanted to show the world our understanding of interfaith harmony. This year it was a big surprise for us that we actually won the first prize. This shows to us that every dedication and all the efforts that we put into our work matters. We are grateful for all the youngsters in our association who give us the meaning to continue building bridges across cultures and religions.”

Through their innovative and impactful event, Bridges – Eastern European Forum for Dialogue demonstrated a commitment to fostering meaningful interfaith dialogue and promoting harmony and understanding across religious and cultural divides. Their achievement serves as an inspiration and a testament to the transformative power of collaborative efforts in building a more inclusive and peaceful world.

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