Congratulations Canon White!

Another Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action is back in the news. Reverend Canon Andrew White, often called the ‘Vicar of Baghdad,’ was just awarded the International First Freedom Award. The award is given out once a year by the First Freedom Center, whose mission is to “advance the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.” Reverend White is in good company, past winners of the prestigious award include Tony Blair, Vaclav Havel, and another Tanenbaum Peacemaker Father Elias Chacour

White is best known for his work in Iraq. He is the head of Baghdad’s St. George’s Anglican Church, the largest church in the country. In this role he tirelessly works to broker a better understanding between Baghdad’s Christian population and the city’s Muslim community. However, his work is not limited to the easing of tensions between Christian and Muslims in Iraq. Reverend White has been vigilant in his fight against the persecution of all religious minorities in the Middle East.

White is president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). Through this group he has hosted numerous events that focus on reconciliation through a religious lens. Most notable amongst these events is the High Council Summit. The last High Council Summit, which took place in Copenhagen in January 2011, was a great success. At the conference, religious and ethnic leaders from across Iraq’s varied landscape came together to learn methods on how to “persuade their people to refrain from violence, engage politically and support the rule of law.” With another summit scheduled to take place later this summer, the International First Freedom Award only serves to reinforce that Reverend Canon Andrew White and his peace-minded brethren are moving in the right direction.
– Adam Kott, Religion and Conflict Resolution Intern