Roman Catholic Orders of Knighthood for Kosovo's state officialsPristina, 23 May 2014 - A very special ceremony took place today in the margins of the International Interfaith Conference organized in Kosovo, within the Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation, organized by Kosovo Foreign Ministry in partnership with Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Community of St Egiddio, sponsored by the British Council, Norwegian Embassy and US Embassy in Kosovo.
Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, the Grand Prior of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and President Emeritus of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Holy See, awarded, in recognition to their individual contribution to the religious understanding and peace-building in Kosovo and in wider region, the following high state officials: President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga received the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I and the Gold Benemerenti Medal of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George (Previous recipients include Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Princess of Denmark, Archbishop of Canterbury, President of Montenegro, etc); Prime Minister of Kosovo received Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi received Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George.
These high awards were granted by the Internationally recognized Roman Catholic Order of Knighthood in recognition of the work done in recent years in Kosovo by these individuals for peace-building and the example the gave to international audience with their work in dialogue between all faith and ethnic communities in Kosovo and Balkan region.
Anthony Bailey, one of the principal coordinator of the Orders international and inter/religious activities said: As someone with 25 years association with Kosovo and wider region, I am delighted that the leaders, government and people of this historic nation have been recognized in this special way by our Prince and Grand Master and Cardinal Grand Prior.
Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi stated: I am very honored that the work we have done in Kosovo to ensure reconciliation with our neighbors and former foes is recognizes in such manner by one of the most important Orders in Catholic Church. We will continue on our path of peace-building strengthened by such positive recognition.