Central African religious leaders share U.N. prize for reconciliation

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August 23, 2015

Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, and the Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou were awarded the 2015 Sergio Vieira De Mello Prize in Geneva. They are pictured in 2014 photos. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See UN-HONORS-RELIGIOUS Aug. 21, 2015.

Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, and the Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou were awarded the 2015 Sergio Vieira De Mello Prize in Geneva. They are pictured in 2014 photos. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

GENEVA (CNS) — Three religious leaders — including a Catholic archbishop — have been honored for promoting interfaith reconciliation in the conflict-torn Central African Republic.

“This award doesn’t belong to us,” Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, president of the Central African bishops’ conference, told the British Catholic aid agency CAFOD.

“It honors the dedication of ordinary people from all walks of life who have refused to be overwhelmed by the violence and instead, with brave hearts, go and talk peace and reconciliation in their communities,” the archbishop said in a statement shortly before receiving the 2015 Sergio Vieira De Mello Prize in Geneva. He shares the award with Imam Omar Kobine Layama, president of his country’s Islamic Council, and the Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyamene-Gbangou of the Evangelical Alliance.

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