As part of global initiative to promote peace, Higher Committee of Human Fraternity unveils design for the Abrahamic Family House
The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity has come together for a global gathering at the New York Public Library in which they shared with stakeholders their mission to progress a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.
The new body is empowered to provide guidance and counsel on realizing the goals of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, during the Papal visit in February this year.
The New York gathering marks the start of a bold and collaborative journey to explore how people of goodwill across all faiths can create mutual understanding and global peace.
One of the first projects the Higher Committee will help guide is the Abrahamic Family House, to be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. A reflection of the Document on Human Fraternity, a church, mosque and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures.
The design of the Abrahamic Family House, by the award-wining and globally-renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, was unveiled at the New York event.
VIDEO: Abrahamic Family House
Courtesy: Adjaye Associates
Reflecting on this historic initiative, His Eminence Elect Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Higher Committee member, said: “This endeavor is a profoundly moving moment for humanity. Although sadly evil, hatred, and division often make news, there is a hidden sea of goodness that is growing and leads us to hope in dialogue, reciprocal knowledge and the possibility of building – together with the followers of other religions and all men and women of good will – a world of fraternity and peace. I would like to thank the UAE for the concrete commitment shown on behalf of human fraternity.”
Commenting on the occasion, Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Higher Committee member and Former Advisor to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, remarked: “The formation of the Committee has come at an important time and has required all peace lovers to unite and join the efforts to spread coexistence, brotherhood, and tolerance throughout the world. I am moved by this energy and determination to spread the principles of the Document on Human Fraternity to achieve security, coexistence, and peace for everyone. I was amazed by the mutual humanity concerns that both His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, shared when they met last February; they were determined to achieve happiness for all humanity no matter the religion or nationality.”
Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation and a Higher Committee member said: “This is an important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity. It will help build bridges between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony in an era that is too often defined by difference. I am honoured to be part of such an esteemed group working to champion love over hate, justice over injustice, and faith over fear.”
Sir David Adjaye, Founder and Principal of Adjaye Associates, commented: “I am humbled and honored that our design has been selected. I believe architecture should work to enshrine the kind of world we want to live in, a world of tolerance, openness, and constant advancement. Architecture and landscape design can interpret the fabric and principles of a place, to advance the conversation, reassess current assumptions about the world, and discover more meaningfully what a place can give back. As an architect I want to create a building that starts to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference – it should represent universality and totality – something higher that enhances the richness of human life. We hope we have set out a plan for a beautiful and thought-provoking space that celebrates the three faiths and stimulates dialogue and understanding at a critical time for the world. Built in the UAE’s capital, the space will be open to the world, and our hope is that through these buildings people of all faiths and from across society can learn and engage in a mission of peaceful coexistence for generations to come.”
The contemporary design was chosen after a rigorous process that included architects of diverse backgrounds and faiths from around the globe. Adjaye’s design is particularly striking, incorporating separate worship spaces for each religion as well as a shared space for collaboration and informal gathering. As a modern design concept it also reflects the goal of creating an enduring space for future generations.