Avicenna International Award For Intercultural Cooperation For Peace-IV

On Monday the 26th of June the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies organized the fourth round of Avicenna Peace Award ceremony in London. This year’s winners were Jewish non-governmental organisations that helped with the evacuation of Afghans after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August 2021. The organisation’s honoured at this year’s event were: Jewish Federations of North America HIAS + JCOREIsraAID World Jewish Relief.

AISS was also joined by distinguished speakers and guests, including Ms. Fawzia Koofi, Ambassador Sayed Taib Jawad, former ambassador of Afghanistan to Moscow, Dr Sahraa Karimi, and representatives from the Jewish organisations.

Ambassador Jawad highlighted the historic tolerance of Afghan society, which allowed Afghanistan’s Jewish community to flourish. This is alongside the long-standing connection of Jewish peoples to Afghanistan, dating back to the 8th Century. Unlike the current political climate which is seeing many vulnerable Afghans flee, Ambassador Jawad also emphasised how Afghanistan was a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution in the region before political turmoil from the 1960s onwards.

Dr Sahraa Karimi talked about the fall of Afghanistan, and highlighted the human and cultural consequences of the collapse.

Our keynote speaker was Dr Shirin Ebadi who emphasised the need for compassion and solidarity beyond borders. This was exemplified by the event itself which saw Jewish, Muslim and Christian guests gather for the occasion. The evening was one of celebration. Afghan musical performances and dance showcased the vibrant culture and diversity of Afghanistan.

The Avicenna Peace Award honours distinguished individuals, institutions, initiatives and projects. It advocates dialogue, intercultural exchange, mutual coexistence and non-violent approaches.