The founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Andrea Riccardi, was honoured in Berlin with the “Humanism Award”. The prestigious award, under the patronage of German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier, has been awarded since 1998 by the German association of philologists of ancient languages, every two years, to European personalities that have been able to combine humanistic culture and civic engagement.
Among the winners German Presidents Richard von Weizsäcker and Roman Herzog, the Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and other personalities of the European culture.
In the grounds for the 2016 Prize award it reads: "Andrea Riccardi represents in an exemplary manner and at the highest level the European values of peace, solidarity and human dignity and, starting from this, he is committed in the society for a better world. The aims and work of Andrea Riccardi, which come from a true humanism, are now - in front of the challenges that we live - more important than ever."
During the ceremony, which was held in the Aula Magna of the Humboldt University of Berlin, packed with people, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who held the laudatory speech, stressed that "we must honour Andrea Riccardi for his humanism made of peacemaking friendship between peoples, cultures and religions.The cardinal concluded: "History is not only the history of humanity progress; there are always relapses into barbarism. But there are also signs of hope and there is always need of the creativity and the courage of new signs and of the witness to humanity. Andrea Riccardi has contributed to this humanism of hope. This is why he is rewarded today".
In his speech, the founder of Sant'Egidio, thanking for the recognition and reflecting on the crisis and challenges of European humanism said: "We Europeans can not miss the sense of human adventure. The adventure is risk, effort, research, hope. This is what the Community of Sant'Egidio wants to be when, starting from its own Christian humanistic roots, it works for the poor in Europe, is committed to peace in the worlds in conflict, fights against poverty in Africa, continues the path of dialogue between religions. And he concluded: "The laborious joy of humanistic research is not only of scholars and specialists but it must return to nourish and sustain the commitment to humanity of so many. To live to survive, protagonist narcissism, self-absorption, economistic mentality do not need to feed on the sources of humanism. But those that wants to make this world more human know they need to feed on the sources of humanism".