Kurdistan Regional Government
SUN, 23 NOV 2014 08:37 Erbil, GMT +3

President Barzani receives Atlantic Award for promoting peace and religious tolerance

WED, 23 FEB 2011 10:50 | KRG.org

Rome, Italy (KRG.org) – President Barzani yesterday in Rome received the Atlantic Award for his role in promoting peace, stability, and religious tolerance in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

The Kurdistan Region's President received the award from the Italian Atlantic Committee and the Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

On accepting the award, President Barzani made a speech in the presence of a several Italian senators, MPs, government officials and foreign diplomats. He said, “We are determined that Kurdistan will continue to contribute to peace and stability in Iraq and our Region. Thanks to its culture of tolerance and the prevailing security and stability, Kurdistan has become a refuge for thousands of people fleeing violence in other parts of Iraq. People of different religions and ethnic backgrounds across Iraq find safety and peace in Kurdistan.”

Since 2003, more than 10,000 Christian families have fled violence and targeted attacks in other parts of Iraq and have settled in the Kurdistan Region. Senator Sergio De Gregorio, President of the Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, paid tribute to President Barzani for his role in providing refuge and assistance to the fleeing Christians.

The Atlantic Award is conferred annually to prominent international figures for their role in promoting peace, stability and religious tolerance in their region. The President said that the award is for all the people of Kurdistan: “This award is a tribute to every Kurd, Arab, Turkman, Assyrian, Chaldean, Armenian, every Muslim and Christian and Yezidi. It is only through our shared commitment to one another, thorough our efforts to work together to uphold the values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence, that I am able to join you here today.”

On the recent turmoil in some Middle Eastern countries, the President said, “There is no doubt that these events will affect the whole region, and we are hopeful that they will lead to the establishment of more democracies. While the events that have led to these monumental changes are clearly inspiring, what happens next will be equally important.”

The President arrived in Rome yesterday and is scheduled to meet Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, Pope Benedict XVI, and Italian government officials.

The Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Italian Atlantic Committee, who selected President Barzani for this year’s award, are Senators and MPs from Italy’s parliament.

The award ceremony was held in the Monumental Complex of Santo Spirito in Saxia, one of Rome’s historic buildings.

See also the speech by President Barzani at the award ceremony.