On Tuesday, November 1, OneVoice became the first joint Arab-Israeli organization to be awarded the annual King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Prize. The prize was presented during The Inaugural Peace-Builder Dinner hosted by Queen Noor and The King Hussein Foundation in New York City at the majestic Harold Pratt House.
Receiving the award on behalf of OneVoice was Oriella Ben-Tzvi, OneVoice-Israel Co-Chair, and Nisreen Shahin, OneVoice-Palestine Executive Director.
In presenting the award, Queen Noor said, “Eleven years ago King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin worked historically to overcome centuries of division to build a future of peace. Today, we honor One Voice for its unyielding work to carry on that legacy.” She continued, "Some of the bravest people in the world are those who look beyond history to build bridges of conflict resolution towards the future."
Queen Noor, addressing the diplomatic and celebrity-filled audience, commented that “at the very core of the King Hussein Foundation is the question, how do we create understanding and peace in a world where people look, sound and live so differently?...[we must] create opportunities for communities to engage in cross cultural dialogue."
Addressing the OneVoice recipients, Queen Noor said, "As Nisreen and Oriella remind us it is not a debate between civilizations, it is a clash between forces of intolerance and forces of understanding on both sides...Only through the power of dialogue can we build bridges for the future...[we must] amplify the voice of moderation and peace looking towards a more hopeful future."
The King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Prize is an annual international award which was established in 2000 to recognize individuals, groups and institutions that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their efforts to advocate for and promote sustainable development, equity, human rights, tolerance and cross-culture understanding, and peace. Last year’s recipient was the world’s largest medical humanitarian movement, Médecins Sans Frontières.
Inspired by the legacy of King Hussein, one of OneVoice’s most important programs is its young leadership training program which has been effective in motivating young and up- and-coming leaders to bring about positive change in their communities in the Middle East.
“The late King Hussein and Queen Noor have been emblems of leadership and courage,” said OneVoice founder Daniel Lubetzky. “King Hussein’s bold, wise and unwavering peace efforts were inspirations as we created the PeaceWorks Foundation and the OneVoice movement. We are humbled that Queen Noor recognized that the young leaders of OneVoice represent the hope of the new generation and follow in the footsteps of the late King Hussein.”
“Queen Noor’s personal commitment to nurturing young women in the region means a great deal to me and sends a message of deep encouragement and support to others who want to step forward and advocate for a better future,” said Nisreen Shahin, One-Palestine Executive Director. Ms. Shahin oversees the Palestinian Democratization Drives, Town Hall Meetings, the youth leadership program and coordinates the joint Israeli-Palestinian OneVoice programming. She is a trained conflict-resolution mediator and instructor, and serves on the boards of the Palestinian Women Association and Tawasul Organization. Prior to joining the OneVoice team, Ms. Shahin served as Public Relations Director for the Palestinian Authority’s International Relations Department in the Ministry of Interior.
Ms. Shahin added: “OneVoice has appealed to our community because it is the only truly non-partisan, grassroots movement representing ordinary citizens who have a strong desire to end the conflict, giving them real tools to seize back the agenda from extremists on both sides of the conflict.”
Following the awards presentation, Charlie Rose moderated a dialogue on leadership, peace-building and human security with President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild participating.
Among the diverse distinguished guests in attendance were Walter Isaacson, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, HRH Prince Zeid, HRH Prince Firas, Steve Case, Rabbi Irwin Kula, Meg Ryan and Sting.
A delegation for OneVoice went to London this month to meet with senior UK political, religious and business leaders. An executive briefing was held at the House of Lords under the unprecedented co-sponsorship of the British-Israel and British-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Groups. It was attended by over 100 dignitaries, including cabinet ministers.
The event at the House of Lords also launched the UK campus tour. Youth leaders Malak Abu Maizer and Shiri Ourian spoke with hundreds of students on many of England’s most polarized campuses and at the East London Mosque (the largest mosque in London). These youth leaders challenged peers to fight polarization on their campuses by seeing that the conflict is not as simple as Israelis versus Palestinians, but better described as moderates against extremists.