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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
17-09-2004 11:30 am The Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, and Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, former president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will receive the 2003 Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize at a ceremony to be held at UNESCO Headquarters on September 21 (2.30p.m. Room 1)

Numerous religious personalities, including cardinals, imams and rabbis, as well as academics, political and cultural personalities will attend the ceremony. The Chairman of the Council of Ministers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adnan Terzic, representatives of Heads of State, and ministerial delegations will also participate, along with the former President and former Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Henri Konan Bédié and Alassane Dramane Outtara.

“These two religious personalities have been chosen in recognition of their action in favor of interfaith dialogue, tolerance and peace,” said jury president, Henry Kissinger. “The jury believes reconciliation of religious views to be one of the great challenges of our age.”

Born in Espellette (France) in 1922, Roger Etchegaray was ordained as a priest in 1947. A Cardinal since 1979, he was President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1984 to 1998. Since 1984, he has traveled to a number of regions in crisis on behalf of the Pope. He participated, for example, in the negotiations to end the siege at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem in May 2002, and visited Iraq in 1986, 1998 and in February 2003, each time on behalf of Pope John-Paul II and in an attempt to avoid war.

Born in 1952 in Veliko Cajno (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mustafa Cedric studied at the Sarajevo madrassa and at El-Azhar in Cairo. After receiving a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Chicago, he became head imam in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, in 1987. His mosque became a major intellectual and spiritual centre for Moslem Bosniacs. Grand Mufti of Bosnia since 1993, he is a member of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL), founded in 2002 and affiliated to the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize consists of a cheque for 122,000 Euros, a peace diploma and a gold medal. It was created in 1989 by UNESCO’s General Conference at the instigation of 120 countries and is awarded annually to honour individuals, organizations and institutions that have contributed significantly to the promotion, research, safeguarding or maintaining of peace, in keeping with the United Nations Charter and UNESCO's Constitution. The Prize is named after the first president of Côte d'Ivoire, Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

In 2002, Xanana Gusmão, President of Timor-Leste, received the Prize. Other laureates have included Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk (1991); Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat (1993); and King Juan Carlos of Spain and former US President Jimmy Carter (1994).

Journalists who would like to cover the award ceremonies must obtain accreditation
from UNESCO’s Press Relations Service,
tel. 01 45 68 17 48 fax 01 45 68 56 52

Source Media advisory No 2004 - 60


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