Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section


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Jean Zaru receives the Anna Lindh Memorial Prize in Stockholm

Jean Zaru, Clerk of Ramallah Monthly Meeting and author of Occupied with Nonviolence, a Palestinian Woman speaks, has been awarded the Anna Lindh Memorial Prize, which will be presented to her in a ceremony in Stockholm on 10 June 2010. The Anna Lindh Memorial Fund supports primarily women and young people who work in the spirit of Anna Lindh (Anna Lindh, the then Foreign Minister, was murdered in Sweden on September 11 2003). They are people, who in their daily lives have the courage to fight indifference, prejudice, oppression and injustices in order to promote a good life for all people in an environment marked by respect for human rights.

The motvation for the 2010 prize is as follows:
In a part of the world that is often painted in different shades of violence, Jean Zaru is a beacon of hope. She is an advocate for dialogue between religions and is, as a lone female church leader in the Middle East, a role model for women’s leadership. During her entire life, Jean Zaru has chosen non-violence to resist the oppression under which she lives. Non-violence because it exposes and challenges the structural violence on all levels. Non-violence because it makes the oppressors realize that they, too, are victims of the violence they impart. Non-violence because Jean Zaru believes in the human being, the entire human being.

Read Jean’s acceptance speech.

Jean was also a member of the Council that drew up the Charter for Compassion, and contributed from her long witness to the Quaker Peace testimony in the troubled land of her birth. Read about her contribution and hear her speak on the Charter’s official site.

Commemorative plaques in English and Arabic were hung in the Meeting House, Annex and Friends’ Boys’ School in Ramallah. Upon receiving delivery of the plaques Jean said “I started reading the words on the plaque in Arabic and my tears would not stop running. Tears of joy and of sadness. I live in Ramallah and have lived here all my life. It was never as difficult as it is now. I pray that Compassion will transform our hearts and minds and communities so we can build a culture of peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis, and for the rest of our broken world. Having the plaques in the Friends Meeting and the Friends schools in Ramallah, that have witnessed for over a century in our land, may enlighten us all to commit ourselves again to a spirituality of compassion. Spirit of compassion, we are thirsty for you in a thirsty land. Let’s start acting together.”

The Charter for Compassion was unveiled on 12th November 2009 to a world that sorely needs it. The initiative of the Charter was launched by the acclaimed author Karen Armstrong when she won the TED prize in February 2008. Over the past 18 months thousands of people from very diverse backgrounds have contributed to the formulation of the Charter, with a Council drawn from different faith and ethical traditions overseeing the editing and drafting of the final document.

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