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CONTACT: Donald Lehr – The Nolan/Lehr Group
+1 (212) 967-8200 / mob +1 (917) 304-4058
dblehr@cs.com / www.templetonprize.org
Tuesday, November 6, 2018





His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will receive the 2018 Templeton Prize in the presence of ambassadors, Jordanian and U.S. government officials, and Washington political leaders, faith leaders, and society on Tuesday, November 13, 7:00 PM, at a ceremony to be held at the Washington National Cathedral.  Admission to the ceremony is strictly by invitation only.

King Abdullah II, who has done more to seek religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions than any other living political leader, was announced as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate on June 27 by the John Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

His Majesty will give an address following the presentation of the Templeton Prize by Foundation President Heather Templeton Dill.  In addition, His Excellency António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, will attend the ceremony and offer his remarks and congratulations.

The program will also include two well-known scholars – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Professor Miroslav Volf – who will present their views on the importance and the influence of the work of King Abdullah II.  Shaykh Hamza is an Islamic scholar and founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, America’s first accredited Muslim liberal arts college.  Professor Miroslav Volf, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, was the lead author of the Christian response to “A Common Word Between Us and You,” a prominent interfaith initiative of King Abdullah’s in 2007.

The Ceremony will also feature performances by a number of Jordanian artists.

The King’s quest to promote peace-affirming Islam gained momentum in 2004 in the wake of the Iraq war when he launched the “Amman Message,” which articulated a clear understanding of the central elements of Islam.

In 2005, 200 Islamic scholars representing all schools of jurisprudence in Islam, under his guidance, issued a declaration now known as the “Three Points of the Amman Message,” which recognized the validity of all eight legal schools of Islam, forbade declarations of apostasy between Muslims, and established conditions for issuing fatwas, Islamic legal rulings.

The following year, King Abdullah II supported and funded “A Common Word Between Us and You,” which led to a 2007 open letter from Islamic religious leaders to Christian religious leaders calling for peace and harmony based on the twin commandments shared by both faiths, “love of God” and “love of the neighbour.”

In 2010, he proposed UN World Interfaith Harmony Week with a General Assembly resolution adding “love of God or love of the good” to “love of one’s neighbour,” thus including all people of goodwill, with or without faith. The resolution, adopted unanimously, established the first week of February as UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.

In awarding the Templeton Prize to King Abdullah II, the Foundation also emphasized his unwavering commitment to protect Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and his leadership which has guaranteed safe haven for Jordan’s ethnic and religious groups, as well as several waves of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.

The Templeton Prize, valued at 1.1 million British pounds, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards and honors a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.

Established in 1972 by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the Prize is a cornerstone of the Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the deepest and most profound questions facing humankind.  The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and emergence to creativity, forgiveness, and free will.

King Abdullah II joins a group of 47 Prize recipients including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural award in 1973, the Dalai Lama (2012), and Desmond Tutu (2013).  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks won the 2016 Prize.  The 2017 Laureate was American philosopher Alvin Plantinga.

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For more information contact:
Don Lehr, Nolan/Lehr Group, Public Affairs Consultant for The Templeton Prize
Mobile: (917) 304-4058 / dblehr@cs.com / www.templetonprize.org