This morning I had the privilege of attending the ceremony of presentation of the Roosevelt Foundation Four Freedoms Awards in Middelburg, the Netherlands. I was invited by PAX, the Dutch equivalent of Pax Christi International, well known for its untiring efforts to build peace all over the world. Its nominee for the Freedom of Worship Award, bishop Paride Taban, was to be one of the laureates. With more than a passing acquaintance with bishop Taban I felt honoured and very grateful to be able to attend this prestigious ceremony – the Dutch King and Queen were in attendance.
On January 6,1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, proclaimed in his State of the Union that if democracy is to survive and flourish, people everywhere in the world are entitled to four human rights: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
In order to keep the legacy of FDR alive, the Roosevelt Institute honors every year outstanding citizens who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to these ideals. The impressive ceremonies that mark the awarding of the Four Freedoms medals are held alternately in Hyde Park, New York and Middelburg, the Netherlands, where the Roosevelt Foundation, a private foundation, is responsible for organising the ceremony in the even-numbered years.
Apart from bishop Taban the other recipients of the Four Freedoms Award this year were:
Freedom of Speech and Expression: Turkish journalist Erol Önderoglu.
Freedom from Want: Conservationist Emmanuel de Merode for the Virunga Alliance (DR Congo)
Freedom from Fear: Former child slave from Nepal Urmila Chaudhary
Overall Four Freedoms Award:
Christiana Figueres Olsen: Representing all those those whose hard work and dedication for many years contributed to the realisation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Bishop Paride Taban received the Freedom of Worship Award from the hands of Karen Armstrong, well-known writer and a former laureate.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, concluded the proceedings telling the audience: “I have been coming to these prestigious occasions for the past 30 years with a sense of delight. This year, for the first time, I come with a heavy feeling. A few days ago I watched a young Iranian being interviewed, ‘I must keep hope alive’, he said…..”
Fons Eppink mhm
Bishop Paride Taban Acceptance Speech: Read