Award recognises Vicar of Baghdad’s reconciliation work

Posted Apr 25, 2014
Photo: Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

Photo: Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, will receive this year’s annual William Wilberforce Award in recognition of his outstanding service to Christianity internationally and his service to the Middle East. The judges stated that he, like Wilberforce, had taken great risks to bring about radical change in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Canon Andrew White not only leads one of the biggest churches in Iraq with a very large clinic and school, he also heads up major reconciliation work between the various sectarian groups in Iraq not least the Shia and Sunni. In addition to his work in Iraq he has been instrumental in also bringing various groups together in Israel and Palestine over many years. He recently hosted a remarkable meeting bringing together Iraqis, Israelis and Palestinians in Cyprus.

“I am more honored and inspired with this award than any other award I have every received,” Canon White said. “I, like William Wilberforce, also used to live and work in Clapham in South West London. Almost every day I would pass the Church he attended, Holy Trinity, Clapham Common, and pray Lord make me like Wilberforce.

“It is humbling to receive an award which honors the memory of one of the greatest statesmen ever and has been presented to such inspirational people as Cardinal Timothy Dolan last year.”

The award organizers say that White was chosen as the recipient of the award because of his “extraordinary strides in reconciliation and restoration in the face of overwhelming challenges.”

They continue: “He has built a positive relationship with the government and people of Iraq on every level, from grassroots to the business community to the military. Located in the city’s Red Zone, his church serves 6,000 Iraqi citizens each week — a stunning number for a country with a 97% Muslim population.

The award will be presented at a dinner attended by over 1,000 people including many of the Generals and Ambassadors who served in Iraq, as part of the annual Wilberforce Weekend, which takes place this year between May 2-4 at Chantilly, Virginia, in the United States.