Two religious leaders, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mustafa Ceric,
on Tuesday jointly received at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris the 2003 Félix Houphouët-Boigny prize for the search for peace.
According to the former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, who headed the jury, the two personalities were recognised for their actions to promote dialogue between religions, tolerance and peace.
Kissinger affirmed that the jury he headed considered that reconciliation among diverse religions is one of the major challenges of this century.
Roger Etchegaray, the former chairman of the pontifical justice and peace council, represented the Pope in several crises-torn area and witnessed the civil war in Mozambique, as well as the Rwandan genocide.
He participated in negotiations to end the siege at the Nativity Basilica in Bethlehem in May 2002 and visited Iraq in February 2003 in a bid to prevent the second war against the oil-rich Arab nation.
Meanwhile, Mustafa Ceric, who studied at the Madrassa of Sarajevo and Al-Azhar in Cairo is the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In his capacity as the Grand Mufti of Bosnia since 1993, Mustafa Ceric is a member of the European Council of religious leaders affiliated to the World Conference of Religions for Peace.
The Felix Houphouet-Boigny Prize, named after the late Ivorian first president, was created in 1989 by the UNESCO general conference at the initiative of 120 countries.
The prize is awarded annually to personalities, institutions and organisations that significantly contributed to the promotion, the search and preservation of peace within the framework of the United Nations charter and the UNESCO constitutive act.