Community of Sant’Egidio
2014 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize
The Community of Sant’Egidio is the 2014 winner of the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize. Along with a cheque for €250,000, the Prize was awarded in the Foundation’s headquarters on Monday 21st July 2014.
Out of around five dozen different nominations, the jury, presided over by Jorge Sampaio, opted to attribute the 2014 Gulbenkian Prize to the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Catholic movement founded by Andrea Riccardi in 1968 and which has since striven not only to support those most disadvantaged but also to attain peace in the world whether through conflict mediation or through inter-religious dialogue.
Also known as the “little UN from Trastevere”, after the Roman neighbourhood hosting its headquarters, the Community of Sant’Egidio is a non-governmental organisation that currently holds around 60,000 lay members in over 70 countries worldwide. Its members are dedicated to fostering ecumenical dialogue and volunteering support to the homeless, the elderly, prisoners (especially those facing the death penalty), the physically and mentally challenged, war victims and immigrants.
The Community undertakes cooperation and development initiatives in many countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia and, in 1992, made a decisive contribution to achieving the peace treaty that brought an end to civil war in Mozambique. This year has seen the organisation present in various fields of conflict and backing efforts to establish dialogues able to promote peace in countries ranging from Guatemala and Burundi to Algeria, the Darfur region, the Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic as well as in the Great Lakes region, among others. Around a third of the Community’s members live either in Africa or in other southern hemisphere countries.
In the Lusophone countries as well as in other Sub-Saharan African countries, the Community’s core activities are structured around either the DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) programme, one of the most effective proven means of combating Aids and malnutrition, or through the BRAVO campaign, which seeks to record local populations and thereby helping to bring an end to the exorbitant number of “invisible children” in Africa.
Calouste Gulbenkian Prize
The Calouste Gulbenkian Prize, with a cheque for the amount of €250,000, is awarded to an institution or a person, whether Portuguese or international, that has stood out in the defence of values essential to the human condition. The very first award in 2012 went to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the musical group led by Daniel Barenboim, with the Library of Alexandria receiving the prize in the following year.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Prize Jury is the following: Jorge Sampaio (Jury President), Vartan Gregorian (Carnegie Corporation, USA), Commander Pedro Pires (former President of the Republic of Cape Verde), HRH Princess Rym Ali of Jordan (founder of the Jordan Media Institute), António Nóvoa (former Rector of the University of Lisbon) and Mónica Bettencourt-Dias (Gulbenkian Science Institute researcher).
In attendance at the Prize award ceremony are Artur Santos Silva, president of the Gulbenkian Foundation, Jorge Sampaio and Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Lisbon, 15th July 2014 (updated 22nd July 2014)
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