On Thursday evening, October 24, 2013, Rumi Forum hosted its 17th Annual Peace and Dialogue Awards at the National Press Club Grand Ballroom in Washington, D.C. Over 15 countries from 5 continents were represented at the Awards dinner. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Kris Van Cleave, an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Award winning General Assignment Reporter for ABC7/WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8.
The National Press Club President, Angela Greiling Keane, opened the evening by comparing the institutional ideals of the National Press Club with those espoused by Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, the famous 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic, such as engaging in dialogue and teaching tolerance. President Greiling Keane also lauded the National Press Club as also a staunch advocate for freedom of speech and of the press.
José Andrés received the Extraordinary Commitment to Community Service Award. A renowned chef and co-owner of ThinkFoodGroup, Mr. Andrés works to foster future generations of innovators and activists that work to change the world through the power of food. Mr. Andrés co-owns Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel, among other restaurants, here in Washington, D.C. He also serves as Chairman Emeritus for DC Central Kitchen, an organization that works to combat hunger with recycled food, train unemployed adults for culinary careers, serve healthy school meals and rebuild urban food systems through social enterprise. Mr. Andrés also serves as culinary ambassador to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an effort championed by Secretary Hillary Clinton.
The recipient of the Extraordinary Commitment to Peace Award was given to Annette Lantos, Chairwoman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Mrs. Lantos is a globally respected human rights leader who worked together with her late husband, Congressman Tom Lantos, for over three decades fighting for persecuted and forgotten people in every corner of the world. Mrs. Lantos is also the founder of the International Free Wallenberg Committee, which was established in 1977 to raise awareness for Raoul Wallenberg’s incredible humanitarian mission in Hungary during WWII. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Mrs. Lantos survived the Holocaust and immigrated to the United States at 16 years of age.
The recipient of the Extraordinary Committee to Education Award was bestowed to Dr. Ali A. Mazrui. Dr. Mazrui, born in Mombasa, Kenya, currently holds a multitude of prestigious academic appointments, including the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, NY; Senior Scholar in Africana Studies and Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large Emeritus, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria; Chancellor Emeritus, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Senior Fellow, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; and Member of the Board of Trustees, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford, England. Dr. Mazrui has also held a number of distinguished professional appointments, including a special advisory position at the World Bank. Dr. Mazrui’s research interests include African politics, international political culture, political Islam and North-South relations.
The Rumi Peace and Dialogue Awards pays tribute to the life and legacy of Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi. The Rumi Awards honors extraordinary individuals and organizations that have greatly contributed their time, energy, leadership and dedication to the cause of dialogue, understanding, peace and community service. The Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue; stimulate thinking and the exchanging of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world; and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange. The Turkic American Alliance congratulates Mr. Andrés, Mrs. Lantos and Dr. Mazrui for their well-deserved awards, as well as the Rumi Forum for their commitment to excellence in the field peacebuilding through interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
Check out Ebru TV’s coverage of the Rumi Awards: