Who: Clementina Cantoni, Aid worker, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc (CARE)
What: The Roger E. Joseph Prize is an international award presented annually to an individual or organization, which, by virtue of religious and moral commitment, has made a distinctive contribution to humanity. Established in 1978, previous recipients of the $10,000 award include Victor Kugler, who gave refuge to Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust; Helen Suzman, the South African anti-apartheid activist; Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern American civil rights movement; the village of Le Chambon, which gave refuge to Jews and Christians fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust; posthumously to Johan Jorgen Holst, for facilitating the Middle East Peace Accords; The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; the Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris Dees, Jr. for their decades-long legal work pursuing justice and fair treatment while combating prejudice and hate; Chaplain Mychal Judge, posthumously, and The City of New York Fire Department; Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and The Daniel Pearl Foundation; Erin Gruwell, the Founder and President of the Erin Gruwell Education Project; and Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations
Why: Clementina Cantoni is a humanitarian worker, dedicated to helping the world's poorest communities solve their most threatening problems. In 2002, Cantoni arrived in Afghanistan to run an emergency food program for some 10,000 Aghanastani war widows and orphans. In 2005, Cantoni was snatched from her car on May 16, 2005 in central Kabul. Afghan widows, who live their lives behind closed doors, emerged publicly and demonstrated their respect for Cantoni by holding protest demonstrations calling for her release. They displayed true courage by rallying on behalf of a foreign woman who had helped provide the vital resources of food, medication, and clothing for them and their children. Cantoni was released after three weeks in captivity. Today, she is in Nairobi, continuing her work on behalf of the underprivileged in yet another part of the world.
When: The 2006 Roger E. Joseph Prize will be presented at HUC-JIR's Ordination and Investiture Services on Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: The ceremony will take place at Central Synagogue, 55th Street & Lexington Avenue, New York City.
For any additional information, please contact Rachel Litcofsky at (212) 824-2205.