Duchess Hails Micro-credit as Path to Peace

Luxembourg's Maria Teresa Receives Award

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NEW YORK, JUNE 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The use of micro-credits can be a "path to peace," said Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg when receiving an award from a Holy See-related institution.



The duchess made that assessment Tuesday when she received the Path to Peace Award in New York.

The award is bestowed annually by the Path to Peace Foundation, which supports the work of the Holy See's permanent mission to the United Nations.

In her address touching on micro-credits, the duchess said: "It is essential to meet with human beings who not only give something to others, but who give themselves to others."

She explained that during a visit to Bangladesh in 1998, she was convinced "of the efficiency of this tool [the micro-credit] in the struggle against poverty, based on principles of trust and solidarity, through which the poorest of the poor are given back their dignity."

At the presentation of the award, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, president of the Path to Peace Foundation and the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, said that, in bestowing the prize to the duchess, the Church and the group "acknowledge her tireless contribution to humanitarian causes."

The award is bestowed on individuals who serve in various areas of development and understanding among peoples.

Work in Asia

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that he himself had witnessed the charitable work that the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and her husband, Prince Henry, carry out in several fields.

In particular, he mentioned their commitment in refugee camps in Cambodia and Thailand.

During the reception, which gathered members of the Path to Peace Foundation, special guests and the diplomatic corps accredited to the United Nations, Cardinal Edward Egan of New York commented on the intense diplomatic and humanitarian endeavor of the Holy See. He also mentioned the determined work within the United Nations carried out by Cardinal Martino, now continued by Archbishop Migliore.

Since 1993, the Path to Peace Foundation has awarded personalities such as King Baudouin of Belgium; Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines; Lech Walesa, former president of Poland; Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.