‘Promotion of human fraternity must extend to empowerment of women,’ Zayed Award panel judge Epsy Campbell Barr tells Arab News

Dubai: Promoting the values ​​of human fraternity should extend to the empowerment of women, according to Epsy Campbell Barr, former Vice President of Costa Rica and a member of the jury for this year̵7;s Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.

“We need more understanding between the genders to create a better world,” she told Arab News on February 4 in the lead-up to this year’s award ceremony. “It is impossible to do this without involving women.

“That is where the message of human fraternity is important: through the promotion of equality and non-discrimination.”

The Zayed Prize for Human Fraternity was created in the build-up to the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019.

Their meeting, which marked the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, culminated in the co-signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, also known as the Abu Dhabi Declaration.

The award was established in 2019 following a meeting between Pope Francis and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb. (AFP)

It was born out of a fraternal discussion between two religious leaders with the aim of helping guide others in furthering a “culture of mutual respect”. Francis later described it as “not a diplomatic gesture but a reflection born of dialogue and common commitment”.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration established the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity and the Zayed Prize for Human Fraternity under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who was then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and is now its Ruler. Emirates and the President of the United Arab Emirates.

The award, now in its fourth edition, is named in honor of Sheikh Mohammed’s father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates.

Campbell Barr, who held the position in Costa Rica from May 2018 to May 2022, was the first woman of African descent to hold the office of Vice President in Latin America, and was named among the 100 most influential people of African descent in 2021.

As an economist and longtime politician, she believes that full implementation of the Document on Human Fraternity can help promote the political, social and economic empowerment of women and girls.

“We need to build bridges,” she said. “When we think about the economic empowerment of women, we have to make sure that we interact with the financial sector to provide women with finance for their entrepreneurial ideas, as well as the importance of human fraternity in political dialogues. Have a feeling

“We need money in the hands of women because we know it will transform not only her life but the lives of the community around her and ultimately the country.”

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Panel of judges for this year’s Zayed Awards. (supply)

Campbell Barr’s comments come at a time when rights for women and girls are being rolled back in many parts of the world, and as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflationary pressures resulting from the war in Ukraine falls unevenly. Shoulder.

Perhaps nowhere is the assault on women’s freedoms more fierce than in Afghanistan, where the Taliban, which returned to power in August 2021, have barred girls from secondary education and, more recently, blocked their access to colleges and universities.

According to the World Bank, although women make up half of the global population, they contribute only 37 percent of global GDP. The bank said global GDP could increase by 26 per cent if the gap between men and women in the workforce was closed.

“We have to change our mind, we have to cooperate,” Campbell Barr said. “The message of the document can be useful for social, economic and environmental issues. We must use the Human Fraternity Agreement as a tool of general dialogue to build a consensus for a new world.”


February 4 has been designated as International Human Fraternity Day in honor of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on that day in 2019.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is an independent global award, presented by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which was instituted to recognize those who have made profound contributions to human progress and peaceful coexistence.

The honorees are awarded $1 million in support of their efforts and to continue their work in advancing human fraternity, bridging across divides, and driving real progress.

The 2021 prize was jointly awarded to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and French-Moroccan activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten, founder of the Imad Association for Youth and Peace, who, after losing her son in an act of terrorism, broadcast her . Grief in developing an outreach program for young people.

The 2022 prize was awarded to King Abdullah of Jordan and his wife Queen Rania “in recognition of their efforts to promote human brotherhood, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence” and to the humanitarian organization Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty of Haiti.

Pope Francis welcomed the 2023 Justice Committee to the Vatican on 9 January to discuss the importance of the prize in promoting human fraternity on a global scale, including the protection of women’s rights.

Francis, who along with al-Tayyeb himself is a 2019 recipient of the honorary award, told the members of the judging panel: “Your work is important in carrying forward the message of human fraternity.”

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She also stressed the importance of the Global Prize for Humanity and urged the committee to play its part to advance women’s rights.

“It is important to uphold the dignity of women in your work, as women’s rights are often outlined on paper, but not practiced in reality,” she added.

In addition to Campbell Barr, this year’s judging panel included Miguel Angel Moratinos, United Nations Undersecretary General and High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, a Filipino prelate of the Catholic Church, prefect of the Department for Evangelization Huh. ,

They are joined by child rights activist and 2014 Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, entrepreneur and 2015 Nobel laureate Ouaid Bouchamaoui, and Mohamed Abdelsalam, secretary general of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity and the Muslim Council of Elders.

Before the committee meeting at the Vatican, Satyarthi said he was looking for an award nominee with “the light of kindness to make long-lasting changes in society”. We need strong actions and bold ideas to create a fairer, more just and equitable world.”

Abdelsalam said the prize was designed to promote understanding and respect among all people, and added: “That’s why the prize aims to highlight individuals and organizations who contribute to making a long-lasting impact, and who Creating a framework for initiatives and ideas to foster the development of a more harmonious, global human community.”

Campbell Barr said that human fraternity is “an understanding between peoples, between civilizations. It is a new ideology to embrace the things we have in common rather than our differences.

He said: “It is building a society based on mutual peace and respect. We’ve been focused on what makes us different for far too long. Agreements can change lives, organizations and countries. This is the way to make a new world. We need to build bridges and understand each other.”

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Epsey Campbell Barr. (AFP)

Campbell Barr said she is looking for the application of compassion, commitment, respect and human fraternity in a nominee.

She told Arab News, “I am looking for someone who will promote dialogue.” “The prize is not the objective. Rather, it is a tool to implement the concept of human fraternity.

“We need to build bridges and this can be possible through a political dialogue and a spirit of fraternity. We have to cooperate rather than compete.”

Campbell Barr said she has had to overcome many obstacles during her political career, but is proud to have been able to serve her fellow Costa Ricans, empower communities and make a difference.

“I had the great opportunity to be the Vice President of my country, but I think I did it not only for Costa Rica but to show all the girls and women in the world that they can do whatever they want.” want to achieve,” she said.

“Women lead differently to men. We do so with more love, we are more collaborative than competitive.

Above all, Campbell Barr believes that political power should be used to help alleviate the suffering of those who are less fortunate, who often lack the opportunities that would lead to a better position in society. There are

“It’s so important to use one’s voice to inspire people,” she said. “And when someone is in a high political position, we have to work with both hands.”

The winner of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2023 will be announced on February 4, the United Nations-recognised International Day for Human Fraternity.

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