France: The 2005 prize for Arab culture is attributed to a White Father

Source: FSSPX News


On September 29, 2005, the Emirate of Sharjah, a member of the United Arab Emirates, awarded the "2005 International Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture" to the White Father Michel Lagarde, at the UNESCO office in Paris, as well as to the Algerian writer Tahar Ouettar. This prize, created in 1988, on the initiative of the Arab Emirates, awards two laureates every year (one from an Arab country and the other from another country) who have contributed to the influence of Arab culture in the world. Each receives the sum of 25,000 US$

Father Lagarde received the prize from the hands of Hussein Ghubash, ambassador and permanent delegate of the Arab Emirates at UNESCO, and Koichiro Matsuura, director general of UNESCO, for having "devoted his life, his teaching and an important book to Arabic language and the study of the Islamic religion". "His works on relations between Christianity and Islam have contributed much to the rapprochement of the two cultures. His profound knowledge of Arab and Islamic culture and his numerous sojourns in Arab countries have greatly fostered intercultural dialogue", added the communiqué from UNESCO.

Aged 66, and a professor of the Arabic language and Islamic studies at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome, Father Lagarde was a missionary in Mali for some ten years.

The Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, entrusted by the Holy See to the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, has been working for more than 50 years for intercultural and interreligious dialog with the Muslim world under the direction of Father Justo Lacunza Balda. The Institute, rich with a library of more than 35,000 books and 500 reviews, offers courses on Islam, international seminars and conferences.