Los Angeles, CA, November 6, 2014 … The Aladdin Project, an international nongovernmental organization based in Paris, was honored today with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) prestigious ADL Daniel Pearl Award for its groundbreaking work in promoting greater mutual understanding among peoples of different cultures and religions and for fostering a greater understanding between Jews and Muslims.
Anne-Marie Revcolevschi, President of The Aladdin Project, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the League’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California. Also attending the award ceremony was Abe Radkin, the Project's executive director.
ADL established the award in 2003 to memorialize Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was abducted and killed in Pakistan in February 2002 while pursuing a story about international terrorism. The award is given to a person or entity that has made a positive impact on the image of Jews and Judaism in journalism, interfaith affairs, human relations, politics, diplomacy, culture or other arenas.
“The work of The Aladdin Project – while obviously difficult – is so important,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award. “The Aladdin Project has taken bold and courageous action in order to promote understanding and awareness.”
“By this award, ADL seeks to reignite the spark of Danny Pearl’s life, career, and the principles by which he lived,” Mr. Foxman added. “Danny lived the truth that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword,’ for he used his words to instruct, to make people see things fresh and with a new understanding, and to bring light into dark corners. We are proud to recognize the groundbreaking work of The Aladdin Project, whose purpose and projects are so consistent with what Daniel Pearl strove to accomplish.”
In accepting the award, Ms. Revcolevschi explained that education is a central component of the Aladdin Project’s work in building bridges of understanding between Muslims and Jews.
“Without knowing, there is no respect. You have first to know about the culture of the other, the Jews about the Muslims, the Muslims about the Jews, the Christians, and so on. You first have to educate and to learn, and when you learn, you understand that you have a common past, some common history,” Ms. Revcolevschi said. “The strength of the Aladdin Project is because we have Muslim partners, and the Muslim partners share the same values as ours.”
The Aladdin Project was launched under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in March 2009, and has since been supported by more than 1,000 intellectuals, academics and public figures from over 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. The founders were initially inspired by the need to counter the falsification of history in the shape of Holocaust denial and trivialization, and continue to study ways of better acquainting Western audiences with the cultures and societies of the Islamic world.
In the organization’s efforts to educate the Arab and Muslim world about the Holocaust, the Aladdin Project translated Anne Frank’s Diary, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz and Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of European Jewry, as well as other books into Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and posted them online to enable readers to download the books directly. Claude Lanzmann’s epic film “Shoah” was also translated, and broadcasted in full on Turkish television, and via an American satellite network into Iran. In addition to organizing conferences on the Holocaust across the Middle East and North Africa, the Aladdin Project developed “A Guide to Judaism for Non-Jews” and “A Guide to Islam for Non-Muslims.”
Previous recipients of the ADL Daniel Pearl Award, which is made possible through the generosity of George and Ruth Moss of Los Angeles, include: Henrique Cymerman, veteran Middle East correspondent; Pilar Rahola Spanish journalist and former Parliament Member; Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, founder of Jewish World Watch; Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic; and Thomas L. Friedman, columnist for The New York Times.