Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, in New York on Monday, May 9, received the Path to Peace Award, presented by the Path to Peace Foundation affiliated with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.
Their Majesties received the award in appreciation of their role in promoting interfaith harmony and dialogue, as well as bolstering prospects for peace, and in recognition of Jordan’s humanitarian efforts to host refugees.
In remarks at the ceremony to receive the award, King Abdullah said: "Our journey on the path to peace must travel through Jerusalem."
"Billions of people around the world hold that Holy City in their hearts. It is home to our prayers and home to our hopes," His Majesty continued.
The King said Jerusalem is key to the future of peace and stability that all seek.
"As Custodian of its Muslim and Christian Holy Sites, I say to you all, my friends, that upholding the historical and legal status quo at these holy places is essential for peace, for harmony, and freedom of worship," His Majesty said.
The King added that Jerusalem is home to many Arab Christians who are part of the oldest Christian community in the world, and it is vital for all to protect their presence in the Holy City.
"Jerusalem should be an anchor for peace and coexistence, not for fear and violence," His Majesty said, warning that undermining the legal and historical status quo of the Holy City will only escalate tensions and anger.
The King urged the international community to help the Palestinians and the Israelis get back to work to end the crisis to reach just and lasting peace that can provide a future of hope for both parties, based on the 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.
His Majesty accepted the award on behalf of all Jordanians, "who uphold the historic values and noble heritage of our land, by living and working in mutual respect, by sustaining Jordan as an oasis of peace, and by reaching out in compassion to those in need, and offering sanctuary to millions of refugees over the years."
The King also reiterated the need for joint and holistic action at the international level to harness political, technological, and economic tools to counter the challenges of food insecurity, COVID implications, and climate change, while working to eliminate 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.
Speaking at the ceremony, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and president of the Path to Peace Foundation, commended His Majesty’s efforts in pursuit of peace in the region and the world.
"Your engagement with religious leaders and your involvement with the process that led to the Amman Message demonstrate your commitment not just to religious tolerance but also to interfaith dialogue, seeking ‘A Common Word between Us and You’. This culminated in your proposal, adopted by the UN General Assembly, to establish a World Interfaith Harmony Week to be celebrated every year," he said, addressing His Majesty.
"Your recent recommitment to protecting the sacred places of the Holy Land, shows that you regard Christians as an integral part of the history and cultural fabric of the Arab world and the Middle East. What is more, in the international arena you are tireless in advocating lasting solutions for conflict resolution and peace in the region," Archbishop Caccia continued.
He also praised Her Majesty’s "concern for the questions of education, connectivity and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as sustainability, the environment and migration", while placing young people at the heart of solutions and imbuing all these efforts with a sense of hope.