On September 19, university students from around the world came together at Georgetown University to partake in “Building Interreligious Solidarity.” This in-person conference was organized and moderated with the help of JPII Leader Emily Judd (Cohort XI, USA) who is now operating as Senior Communications Specialist at the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, an international interfaith organization supported by the Vatican, Al-Azhar, and the leadership of the United Arab Emirates. The conference was centered on human fraternity and interfaith dialogue and it was the product of a partnership between Georgetown University and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity and Muslim Council of Elders.
Speakers included the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb (virtual), UAE Minister of State for Youth Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, and US Ambassador At-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain (virtual). Student participants were from diverse religious backgrounds and countries including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Poland.
The goal of the conference was to build upon the Document on Human Fraternity, signed in 2019 by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and His Holiness Pope Francis. This monumental document looks toward human fraternity among all people as a means to promote peace and justice. The creation of the Higher Committee on Human Fraternity was inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity and seeks to implement and further the ideals of this interfaith document.
In 2021, three members of Cohort XIII of the Russell Berrie Fellowship, Gianluca Avanzato, Gloria Guisbert, and Sophie Palopoli, participated in an international youth Zoom meeting with the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity. In a group of 12 students from around the world, including the United States, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, Ghana, UAE, and Kuwait, these three JPII Leaders spoke about their visions of human fraternity and had the opportunity to hear from 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee. The JPII Center is grateful for Emily’s work with the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity and looks forward to being involved in future events too.