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Date: Nov 19, 2009
Renowned Interfaith Leader Rabbi Arthur Schneier and International Coalition Religions for Peace Awarded Hofstra’s Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize
Co-recipients share 2010 prize for fostering religious tolerance and cooperation
Video: Watch Full Press Conference
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal for Conscience Foundation, and Religions for Peace, a worldwide multi-religious coalition, have been awarded Hofstra’s Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for 2010, President Stuart Rabinowitz announced today.
The $50,000 prize, which is bestowed every two years, recognizes significant work to increase interfaith understanding. A formal award presentation is planned for spring 2010. The first Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was awarded in 2008 to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
“Rabbi Schneier and Religions for Peace have shown an unflagging commitment to bringing together people of all faiths to work towards common humanitarian goals,” said President Stuart Rabinowitz. “As a center for learning, Hofstra University is pleased to recognize their efforts to nurture curiosity and understanding throughout the world.”
The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was established in 2006 by Mr. Ishar Bindra and family to recognize outstanding achievements in the promotion of interfaith harmony. It is named for the founder of the Sikh religion and is meant to encourage understanding of various religions and encourage cooperation between faith communities. Guru Nanak believed that all humans are born equal, regardless of color, ethnicity, nationality or gender.
Rabbi Schneier and Religions for Peace were chosen by a selection committee comprised of members from various faith traditions. More than sixty individuals and groups were nominated. The honorees were announced at a press conference today at Hofstra University.
A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Schneier has devoted his life to promoting religious tolerance and freedom. He is spiritual leader of the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan, and founder and president of the Appeal for Conscience Foundation. He has led interfaith delegations to Cuba, China and the former Soviet Union, and was the first rabbi to get the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian award in the United States.
“This high recognition by Hofstra University will be an added incentive to continue my life’s work on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and interfaith cooperation,” Schneier said, “and hopefully will inspire many others.”
Religions for Peace is the largest multi-faith coalition for peace in the world, with 70 inter-religious councils across the globe. The organization brings together leaders from different religions to promote human rights, reduce poverty and end sectarian violence. Its most recent world assembly, in 2006, drew more than 800 religious leaders from nearly 100 countries.
“It is especially meaningful for Religions for Peace to receive an award in the namesake of the first of the ten great Gurus of Sikhism,” said Religions for Peace Secretary General William F. Vendley. “Guru Nanak Dev Ji gave shape to the notion of a ‘universal brotherhood’, which is genuinely respectful of diverse religious identities. The Bindra family, the Sikh community, and Hofstra University receive our heartfelt appreciation for honoring the many thousands of religious leaders and believers – including the heads of women of faith and youth organizations - around the world who cooperate through Religions for Peace.”
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from more than 150 undergraduate and 160 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied health services and honor studies, as well as a School of Law.