Pope Francis will mark the International Day of Human Fraternity in a virtual meeting on 4 February 2021, the date set by the United Nations General Assembly for this new annual occasion. He will do so together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. The event will be hosted in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
On the same occasion, the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, which is inspired by the Human Fraternity Document, will be awarded. The meeting and the award ceremony will be streamed in several languages starting at 14:30 (Rome time) – 13.30 (GMT time) – by Vatican News, the multimedia information portal of the Holy See, and broadcast by Vatican Media.
The date is no coincidence. On 4 February 2019, during a visit the Pope made to the United Arab Emirates, together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (Cairo), Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, they signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. The Pope and the Grand Imam spent almost half a year drafting this Document before announcing it together during such a historic visit.
A few months later, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established to translate the aspirations of the Human Fraternity Document into sustained engagements and concrete actions to foster fraternity, solidarity, respect and mutual understanding. The Higher Committee is planning an Abrahamic Family House, with a synagogue, a church and a mosque, on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. It established an independent jury to receive nominations for the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity and choose winners whose work demonstrates a lifelong commitment to human fraternity. The 2021 prize will be awarded on 4 February.
On 21 December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 4 February as International Day of Human Fraternity. “In this decisive phase of human history, we are at a crossroads: on the one hand, universal fraternity in which humanity rejoices, and on the other, an acute misery that will increase the suffering and deprivation of people,” Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, secretary general of the High Committee of Human Fraternity, underlined during his presentation of the encyclical Fratelli tutti on 4 October 2020.
Pope Francis has encouraged the Holy See to join in the celebration of International Human Fraternity Day under the leadership of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In the January edition of the Pope’s Video, “At the service of human fraternity,” Pope Francis highlights the importance of focusing on what is essential to the faith of all faiths: worship of God and love of neighbour. “Fraternity leads us to open ourselves to the Father of all and to see in the other a brother, a sister, to share life, or to support one another, to love, to know,” Pope Francis emphasises in the video.