Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Award-winning Swedish-led religious dialogue in Cyprus

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Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud, Executive Director of the Swedish-led Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP), is today awarded the first-ever International Religious Freedom Award by the US Department of State.

Ms Eskidjian Weiderud has worked on the peacebuilding initiative for almost 10 years. The RTCYPP brings together religious leaders in Cyprus with the aim of strengthening human rights, peace and reconciliation. The initiative is primarily funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Sweden participates through its Embassy in Nicosia.

– Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud’s pioneering work for peace and reconciliation is unrelenting and is greatly appreciated, not only in Cyprus but all over the world. The Government will continue to support her efforts for dialogue, human rights and gender equality in the peace process, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

The RTCYPP started in 2009 and has been highlighted by the UN Secretary-General and the UN Security Council as a confidence-building initiative in Cyprus. A concrete example that was recognised was the joint condemnation by the religious leaders in 2017 of violence against women and girls – the first of its kind in the world. 

– It is an honour to receive this award as welcome recognition of the joint efforts for peace and reconciliation by Cypriot religious leaders with the support of the Swedish Government, says Ms Eskidjian Weiderud.

The International Religious Freedom Award is being presented for the first time this year. It honours extraordinary advocates of religious freedom from around the world. The awards ceremony will take place in Washington DC today.

For more information about the International Religious Freedom Award and the awards ceremony, please visit: International Religious Freedom Award Winners 

The event will be livestreamed on www.state.gov at 18.00 local time.

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