Home Affairs and Trade Promotion Minister Carmelo Abela has submitted the nomination of Fr Dionysius Mintoff, Founder of the Pope John XXIII Pace Laboratory, for the Felix Houphouet-Boigny UNESCO 2019 Peace Award.
Set up in 1990, the Felix Houphouet-Boigny UNESCO Peace Award honours living individuals, entities or public or private institutions who have contributed significantly to the promotion, safeguarding or maintaining of peace in conformity with the United Nations Charter and the Constitution of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
The call for nominations was issued by UNESCO to member states and is awarded every two years, with the choice being made by the Director General of UNESCO on the basis of evaluations and recommendations by a high level international panel of judges.
The Felix Houphouet-Boigny UNESCO Peace Award is sponsored by Abdou Diouf, former President of Senegal, and the Patron of the Award is Konan Bédié, former President of the Ivory Coast. Both had been appointed by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny before his death.
Minister Abela stated in his letter of nomination that “Malta’s Pope John XXIII Peace Laboratory is a living example of the role of a non-governmental and voluntary organisation in the creating of a conscience and of public opinion. As Founder of the Peace Laboratory, Fr Mintoff continues to seek the strengthening and consolidation of the values and ethos on which the Laboratory is based by promoting communication within the community seeking asylum in Malta and their families outside the country, by imparting information, providing basic care service through the setting up of open health clinics and through providing shelter and hospitality.”
Through the Pope John XXIII Peace Laboratory set up in 1971, Fr Mintoff has made a significant contribution to the promotion, safeguarding and maintaining of peace. The Laboratory was set up following an appeal by Pope John XXIII who, in his 1963 Encyclical, had called on the world to reflect on Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity and Freedom. Fr Mintoff sought to bring to life his dream of an open and unrestricted space where people of different cultures and communities can mingle together.