Your Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Your Excellency Archbishop Auza, Your Eminence Cardinal Martino, Your Excellency Mogens Lykkotoft , President of the UN General Assembly, Your Excellency Herve Ladsous, Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations representing the UN Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished guests and wonderful supporters of the Holy See Mission and the Path to Peace:
Good evening! We are delighted to have so many of you here with us for the presentation of the 2015 Path to Peace Award to Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint al Hussein. It is now my privilege to introduce our program. My name is Susan Whelan and I am co-chair of this event with Mark Ackermann. But I am also a Legal Adviser for the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.
Our “Family of Nations” here at the UN discusses issues not only related to war and conflict, but also basic human rights to food, water, shelter, education, rule of law and freedom for all. In my work for the Holy See Mission, I cover Oceans and Law of the Sea, joining in negotiations regarding such issues as ocean acidification, climate change, fish stocks, territorial rights, energy and marine genetic resources. In addition I follow issues related to international trade law such as insolvency, secured transactions and microfinance. I tell you all this to give you just a sampling of the different topics and challenges for which the Holy See and the United Nations is seeking solutions.
And so I quote from one of the greatest speeches ever made – the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus gives us the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” I am honored to introduce the first of our esteemed peacemakers, our host for this evening:
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop Bernardito Auza was born in the Philippines as one of 12 children. He entered the priesthood there, after which he earned a doctorate in theology and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. He served thereafter in successive postings at the Apostolic Nunciatures in Madagascar, in Bulgaria, and in Albania. He then served in the Secretariat of State at the Vatican and as Counsellor to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York.
In 2008, he was appointed the Titular Archbishop of Suacia and Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti. Of course this was a particularly challenging post given that during his Haitian ministry, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed much of the island State, killing thousands of people, including Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot. As a result, Archbishop Auza had to step in as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. The courage, compassion, activism and leadership of Archbishop Auza made an enormous difference in the lives of many Haitians. In fact, many guests in the room tonight are here in tribute to the life of this very special priest and to honor his work and the singular work of the Catholic Church on the ground in that very challenging situation.
Most recently, we are delighted that in 2014 Archbishop Auza was appointed Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations as well as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States.
At this time, it is my honor and privilege to invite our host, Archbishop Bernardito Auza to the podium. Thank you.