Marrakesh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Jordan’s Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal and French journalist Jean Daniel were jointly awarded the first International Averroes Prize in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Saturday.
The Averroes Prize will be awarded annually to two contemporary thinkers, one from each shore of the Mediterranean, whose work promotes humanist values, in the spirit of the 12th century Arab philosopher and scientist Ibn Rushd, known in the West as Averroes.
The prize-awarding ceremony will be held every year in Cordoba and Marrakesh, where Averroes was born and died respectively, and is sponsored by universities from each city—Caddi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Cordoba University, as well as the Italian Mediterranean Observatory.
The Prize is part of the MED project initiated by the Italian Mediterranean Observatory in the aim of examining the dynamics of economic relations between the two banks of the Mediterranean.
Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal, who was awarded the Averroes Prize for the southern bank of the Mediterranean, said that the forum was an opportunity to enhance global and regional dialogue, and followed in the footsteps of Islamic teachings of tolerance for all people. He stressed that a “return to Averroes” would reaffirm the openness of the Arab culture to others, and its tolerance and traditions of reason and logic.
Jean Daniel, co-founder of the French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, was handed the Averroes Prize for the northern bank of the Mediterranean by Andre Azoulay, advisor to King Mohammed VI and President of the Anna Lindh Foundation.
The French journalist expressed his attachment to Morocco and said that he had known three Moroccan Kings and that he considers the Kingdom as his own country. He spoke of Averroes as a man of enlightenment and reason and called for a return to the “spirit of Cordoba” and the philiosophy of Averroes in order to promote humanism and tolerance regardless of one’s origin and religious affiliation.