Axworthy Receives Lieutenant-Governor Award
Credit: Tracey Goncalves, Manitoba Government Photographer
Lt.-Gov. Philip S. Lee presented the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Inter-religious Understanding to Dr. Lloyd Axworthy at a ceremony at Government House on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Dr. Axworthy is a life-long, active lay member of the United Church of Canada. He credits his roots in the denomination with shaping his life and career which, by any standard, has been distinguished, extraordinary and world-changing, said Lee.
During his time as minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Axworthy initiated roundtables of religious rights within the department and the wider community. He has been a champion of religious freedom and peaceful dialogue, especially as an outspoken supporter of the Baha’i community worldwide and in Iran, writing and speaking on the need for freedom of religion in education.
As the president of the University of Winnipeg, he invited leaders of every world faith to attend the 2010 World Religions Summit in Winnipeg. His support of Aboriginal spirituality was recognized by the Sagkeeng First Nation when he was made an honorary member and given the Ojibway name Waapshki Pinaysee Inini, which translates to White Thunderbird Man. He mandated the establishment of the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy and the Knowles/Woodsworth Institute for Theology and Public Policy. In 2007, in the midst of a nationwide controversy over ‘reasonable accommodation’ in post-secondary education, he ensured the establishment of a prayer room for Muslim students at the University of Winnipeg. He has mandated the convening of Middle East Week and has supported the annual Holocaust Symposium for the full decade of his mandate. Most recently, he supported the establishment of the Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha Foundation for Sikh and Punjabi Studies.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Inter-religious Understanding is presented each year at a ceremony at Government House to an individual who best embodies understanding between all religious groups. Past recipients include the late Dr. Redwan Moqbel, former head of immunology, faculty of medicine, University of Manitoba and a member of the Bahai Faith; Dr. Atish Chandra Maniar, a Hindu priest; Mae Louise Campbell, an Ojibway Métis elder; and Zane Zalis, a composer and musician.
“Since 2010, when this award was bestowed for the first time, this ceremony has become a much-anticipated event for Manitobans who believe deeply in human dignity, the search for meaning and the common ground we all share. Our province’s faith communities come together with this award to celebrate efforts to broaden our circle of friendship and reach to a greater understanding of one another” said the lieutenant-governor. “I am so honoured to host this event at Government House each January, which is an opportunity to honour those strong spirits who build harmony and understanding in our world.”
For further information on this award and others given to worthy individuals by the lieutenant‑governor of Manitoba, please see the lieutenant-governor’s website at www.manitobalg.ca
– 30 –
Contact: Phyllis Fraser, 204-945-2752.