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July 17 2014

The Calouste Gulbenkian prize awarded to the Community of Sant'Egidio

for the appreciation of the work for interreligious dialogue and for the help to the most needy. On Monday 21 July the award ceremony in Lisbon

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The prize of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a prestigious cultural institution based in Lisbon, which is awarded annually to an association or personality particularly distinguished in the defense of the core values of the human person, has been awarded in 2014 to the Community of Sant'Egidio in consideration, as stated in the preamble, “of the aid to the most disadvantaged and the efforts to achieve peace in the world through the mediation in conflicts and through interreligious dialogue". The Prize jury, led by Jorge Sampaio, President of the Portuguese Republic from 1996 to 2006 and composed of international personalities including Princess Rym Ali of Jordan, made its decision after reviewing about 60 applications from all over the world. The prize, worth 250,000 euro, will be delivered next Monday 21 July in Lisbon, at the headquarters of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and will be withdrawn by Community President Prof. Marco Impagliazzo.

"This award, which is given to us by an institution of great international prestige whose efforts for the promotion of universal human values are well known, honours us and stimulates us to continue, in turn, on the long path taken by the Community of Sant'Egidio since its birth", said Marco Impagliazzo, noting that "the prize of the Gulbenkian Foundation is an appreciation of the Community's commitment to interreligious dialogue, in the spirit of Assisi. The next step of our 'prayer for peace' will see us at the beginning of September in Antwerp, Belgium, where, a hundred years after the beginning of World War I, we will repeat that the future of humanity is peace; while our work of mediation continues incessantly in the ongoing conflicts in different geographic areas, particularly in Africa and in the East, in the wake of the decisive contribution that Sant'Egidio gave in 1992 to the pacification of Mozambique, as explicitly recognised in the grounds of the award".

"The Community of Sant'Egidio - says the Gulbenkian Prize jury - currently brings together more than 60 thousand lay people in more than 70 countries around the world, engaged in the promotion of ecumenical dialogue and helping, on a voluntary basis, to those that are homeless  the elderly, prisoners, prisoners on death row, the disabled, the victims of wars and migrants”. In recent years, the prize was awarded to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, led by Daniel Baremboin and to the Library of Alexandria. The award ceremony will be attended by Artur Santos Silva, the president of the Gulbenkian Foundation and Jorge Sampaio.