As a reminder that today and through out history there have always been so many people that have promoted dialogue, we are introducing some of them in this blog from time to time.
We will be trying to select people that are not the most widely known. We do this to show two things: Firstly: There are even more people convinced about the peace enabling power of dialogue than you might think. Secondly: It would be good to have an internationally known sign for those who believe in dialogue to show that conviction and to recognize like minded others.
Rüdiger Nehberg was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by President Johannes Rau in 2002.
The ceremony was performed by the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein, Heide Simonis, in the state government residence in Kiel. The award honoured Nehberg’s many years of work for the survival of the Yanomami Indians of Brazil, campaigns for nature conservation and the current commitment against Female Genital Mutilation. Simonis recognized Nehberg’s dialogue with Islam as particularly noteworthy. She described it as a successful starting point to counter effectively the barbaric practise of Female Genital Mutilation: „Long-term change can only be achieved with respect for the values and traditions of those affected.“
Here is the corresponding quote from the speech by Heide Simonis awarding of the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany to Rüdiger Nehberg on 28th February 2002 in the residence of the state government in Kiel.
(Quote:) „The special thing about your organisation is that it seeks dialogue with Islamic leaders to end this centuries-old practice, to which generations of women have fallen prey. Sustainable change can only be achieved with the people there, with respect for their values and traditions. (…) Ladies and gentlemen, Rüdiger Nehberg’s current commitment is an outstanding example of a successful dialogue between cultures, which has so often been discussed in the last few months. Here it is filled with life and its success is tangible.“
Buy now Rüdiger Nehberg and his partner Annette Weber have received more Orders of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germanyweitere and many other award and distinctions. Information about these and his organisation can be found at:
About the Idea of the white heart Rüdiger Nehberg wrote (Quote): „First of all: The initiative sounds good. It corresponds to our strategy in the fight against FGM in close cooperation with the spiritual leadership of Islam. While some German organizations said „Islam is not capable of dialogue,“ we have proved everyone the contrary. „