Top Japanese award goes to Sisilah for peace and interreligious dialogue
The movement founded by a PIME missionary has won the 2013 edition of the Goi Peace Award. Decades long commitment to fostering encounter between Christians and Muslims in an area of tension and violence. The movement efforts an "inspiration" for entire world. The award delivered in Tokyo on November 27.

Manila (AsiaNews) - Sisilah, a movement for Muslim-Christian dialogue founded in 1986 by Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), won the 2013 edition of the Goi Peace Award, it was recently announced by the Goi Peace Foundation. The Japanese agency - founded in 1999 in Tokyo - is committed, as stated in its statutes, to the "promotion of peace, overcoming barriers formed by race, religion or political beliefs." The jury wanted the prestigious award to go to the Philippine movement, because it best mirrored the foundations' own values.

For the promoters of Sisilah the coveted award is a confirmation of the work in favour of interreligious dialogue over the past decades. In past editions, the Goi Peace Award went to famous personalities such as the Hungarian philosopher and scientist Ervin Laszlo, President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica and the doctor of Indian origin Deepak Chopra.

Among the reasons for the award, there is just the "recognition of the many years of unremitting efforts to promote dialogue for peace and solidarity" between Christians and Muslims in the Philippines, particularly in the southern regions. "Your efforts - add the members of the Steering Committee, in a letter sent to Sisilah - have not only advanced the process towards lasting peace in your communities, but have inspired many people around the world with your example  of true dialogue based on spiritual values".

The award ceremony will be held on November 27 in the Japanese capital in the context of the Goi Peace Foundation Forum scheduled at Nikkei Hall. For members of Sisilah it is a "recognition" of the efforts "of all members" of the group, who with "generosity and commitment" have been  fighting for years for peace in Mindanao. A "visionary" pursuing of Islamo-Christian "peace and dialogue" "as possible, by the grace of God."

Founded in 1986, for more than 20 years Sisilah has been offering projects and initiatives such as the Bishop ulema forum and training courses for young Christians and Muslims. In recent years the movement has become a point of reference for the ongoing reconciliation between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which for 40 years have fought a war that cost over 100 thousand lives.