BEIRUT: Prestigious Japanese awards for a well-known academic and an NGO based in Lebanon have boosted the causes of peace and the environment.
Lebanon-registered NGO, the Adyan Foundation, received the Niwano Peace Prize this year while Assad Serhal, director general of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), won the MIDORI Prize for biodiversity last year.
The Niwano Peace Prize is awarded “to honor and encourage those devoting themselves to interreligious co-operation in the cause of peace.”
The MIDORI Prize is presented every two years and organized by AEON Environmental Foundation, in cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The prize is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity.
It was established in 2010 during the 20th anniversary of the AEON Environmental Foundation, which also coincided with the celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity.
After receiving the Niwano award in May 2018, Father Daou, the chairman and CEO of Adyan Foundation, said: “The greatest heroes are those who fight against discrimination and ensure respect and human dignity for all.”
Founded in 2006 by people belonging to various faiths and sects in Lebanon, Adyan seeks to “value cultural and religious diversity and promote coexistence and manage pluralism among individuals and groups at the social, political, educational and spiritual levels.”
The Niwano Peace Foundation believes that the work of the Adyan Foundation “will pave the way for people belonging to different faiths to build peaceful societies, not only in the Middle East but throughout the global community.”
In 2013, Adyan, in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Education, developed the concept of inclusive citizenship for cultural and religious diversity. It launched Adyan Youth Network and established university clubs for dialogue and citizenship.