May 9th, 2022
New York – On Monday, May 9, the Path to Peace Foundation celebrated its 29th annual Gala at 583 Park Avenue in Manhattan and awarded its Path to Peace Award to His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission to the UN and President of the Path to Peace Foundation, welcomed 370 guests to the Gala.
The Archbishop began his remarks by highlighting that, in honoring their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania Al Abdullah in recognition for their work in service of peace and interfaith harmony in the Middle East and the wider world, the Path to Peace Foundation was realizing a long-awaited desire, as the proposal to award their Majesties was first made in 2015.
The roots of the Path to Peace Foundation, Archbishop Caccia said, are in the greeting of the risen Christ to his Apostles: “Peace be with you!” Wishing peace as a first greeting, he noted, is common practice in all cultures in the Middle East. He thanked His Majesty King Abdullah, who, having witnessed suffering and bloodshed in the Middle East, has been constant in his efforts to foster peace at home in the region and on the world stage.
Archbishop Caccia commended the King for his commitment to religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue, notably through his efforts to safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites under the Hashemite Custodianship; his initiation of the 2004 “Amman Message,” which affirmed that terrorism has no place in Islam; and his 2010 proposal for an annual “World Interfaith Harmony Week,” which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
Applauding the Kingdom of Jordan’s willingness to accept refugees fleeing conflict and tyranny, Archbishop Caccia echoed Pope Francis’ expression of thanks during his 2014 visit to Jordan, recognizing Jordan’s historical and ongoing welcome to refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria.
Archbishop Caccia praised Queen Rania for her “concern for the questions of education, connectivity, and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as sustainability, the environment and migration,” which he said “places young people at the heart of solutions and is imbued with a sense of hope.”
King Abdullah accepted the award with an expression of gratitude to the Path to Peace Foundation, on behalf of “Jordanians, men and women, young people and elders, Muslims and Christians alike.”
“Our journey on the path to peace,” the King said, “must travel through Jerusalem.” He added that the Holy City is also home to many Arab Christians, who are members of the oldest Christian community in the world, emphasizing that it is vital for the international community to protect their presence in the Holy City. He said that “Jerusalem is key to the future of peace and stability that we all seek,” and “should be an anchor for peace and coexistence, not for fear and violence.”
King Abdullah, in calling for an end to the cycle of violence and agony, urged the international community to work towards a just and lasting peace, through a two-state solution “leading to the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.”
The King further underscored the value of mutual respect, cooperation, and shared humanity in shaping a better world.
“Because our most difficult challenges will not be solved by material goods, nor by working in silos,” Kind Abdullah said, “they will be met by drawing on our faith in God, our common humanity, and our will to jointly defeat poverty and despair, end occupation and injustice, help refugees everywhere return home, ready to rebuild shattered communities, and renew the hope that young people everywhere so desperately need.”
The Gala was co-chaired by Her Excellency Vicki Downey and Angelo Vivolo. His Eminence Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, gave the opening invocation. Three members of the Holy See Mission also delivered remarks: Pierce Corden (expert), Giulia Maniezzi (negotiator), and Aude Lajouanie (intern). His Excellency Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of Richmond, gave the closing Benediction.
The funds raised through the Path to Peace Gala enable the Path to Peace Foundation to help the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See maintain a dynamic presence at the UN and to bring greater awareness of the teachings of the Holy Father on important international questions.
The Foundation also focuses on disseminating information and documentation on statements and initiatives of the Holy Father, the Holy See, and Catholic organizations directed toward building a world of justice, charity, and peace.