A Prince of Peace Wins Vatican Group´s Award

Liechtenstein Leader Recognized for Work

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NEW YORK, JUNE 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein was conferred the Path to Peace award for 2001, by a group promoted by the Vatican mission at the United Nations.

The award, in recognition of work at the service of peace and human rights, was conferred by Archbishop Renato Martino, Vatican permanent observer at the United Nations here.

The archbishop created the Path to Peace Foundation to promote humanitarian projects and to help resolve armed conflicts.

Past award winners were King Baudouin of Belgium; Lech Walesa of Poland; and Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general.

This year, the foundation wished to recognize «the efforts for the promotion of peace at all levels of society,» demonstrated by the prince, who succeeded his father, Franz Joseph II, in 1989 as Liechtenstein´s head of state. The principality´s 31,000 inhabitants include 25,000 baptized Catholics.

When he received the award Thursday, the sovereign joked about Liechtenstein´s size. As it has no army, he said, it has no alternative but to work for freedom of religion, and respect for law, democracy and human rights. He added that these must also be the objectives of the international community.

The prince said peace-building efforts are more urgent, given the increased technical capability for mass destruction in the world. He has founded a study center at Princeton University in New Jersey to advance the cause of peace.

Among the reasons for giving the award, Archbishop Martino recalled Hans Adam II´s participation in a U.N.-organized seminar in New York, following John Paul II´s 1995 visit.

On that occasion, the prince said that freedom of religion, together with respect for law and democracy, must be at the foundation of society, if humanity is to live in peace and prosperity.

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