UNESCO Awards Priest for Educational Work With Arabs and Jews

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PARIS, MAY 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Father Emile Shoufani, a native Palestinian of Israeli nationality, was awarded the 2003 UNESCO Prize for Education for Peace, for his constant endeavors to reconcile Arabs and Jews.



The award's international jury also recognized the priest's personal attitude and activity, "always pervaded with dialogue, peace and tolerance," UNESCO announced Wednesday.

Father Shoufani, who was born in 1947, is of the Greek-Melkite rite. He has been director of the Greek-Catholic School of St. Joseph in Nazareth since 1976. In 1988, he wrote a program entitled "Education for Peace, Democracy and Coexistence," which has been implemented in the school.

The priest has worked to bring Arabs and Jews together, twinning his school with the Jewish school Lyada of Jerusalem. He has organized the exchange of students, convinced that cultural and religious diversity are not an obstacle to, but a way of, peace.

At the end of 2002, Father Shoufani launched the project Memoria for Peace in Israel and France. The project is a joint pilgrimage of Arabs and Jews to Auschwitz-Bierkenau to remember the Shoah -- the Holocaust -- and to promote the reconciliation of the two peoples. The pilgrimage began Monday.