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Romania: John Graz and Ganoune Diop, honoured with 'Doctor Honoris Causa'

Romania: John Graz and Ganoune Diop, honoured with 'Doctor Honoris Causa'

John Graz and Ganoune Diop, honoured with 'Doctor Honoris Causa'

Bucharest, Romania [A. Mazza, A. Horja, CD EUDNews]. November 2, 2014. John Graz, Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association, and Ganoune Diop, Deputy Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association, rece

November 01, 2014 | A. Mazza, A. Horja, CD EUDNews.

Bucharest, Romania [A. Mazza, A. Horja, CD EUDNews]. November 2, 2014.

John Graz, Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association, and Ganoune Diop, Deputy Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association, received the title of 'Doctor Honoris Causa' from Wallachia University in Targoviste, Romania, as academic appreciation and respect for advocating the development and promotion of religious freedom in Romania.

“We were glad to be a bridge between IRLA and the representatives of the Romanian institutions of higher education. Our consistent efforts in promoting fundamental human rights in universities are constantly facing new challenges, but they also bring surprises like the following. We were awed and appreciated the honour the university awarded John Graz and Ganoune Diop”, declared Nelu Burcea, president of “Conscience and Liberty” Association.

Mihnea Costoiu, Romania’s Minister Delegate for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology Development, called John Graz “a global visionary who inspires and builds suitable solutions for government and international diplomacy”. In his speech, he welcomed the interest shown by the Romanian institutions of higher education and attracting and involving famous names in modern research and exemplary professionals and intellectuals.

“I congratulate Wallachia University for awarding the title 'Doctor Honoris Causa' to a remarkable personality in the field of human rights, diplomacy and inter-religious dialogue, to a man whose life has been devoted to promote two fundamental human rights – freedom of religion and belief – Dr. John Graz, Secretary General of International Religious Liberty Association.”

During the ceremony dedicated to Ganoune Diop, Minister Costoiu emphasized Diop’s interest in human dignity and the training he offered to officials and religious leaders:

“Twice today, I have had the opportunity to participate in a special ceremony. I congratulate Wallachia University in Targoviste for awarding the 'Doctor Honoris Causa' title to a remarkable personality whose interest in human dignity as the basic and fundamental of all rights and who created bridges and made it possible to open new links in discussion between people of different religious and philosophical backgrounds bringing peace and understanding.

From the very beginning Dr. Ganoune Diop has shown, along with Dr. John Graz, a real concern for our country and its needs. There was support shown for research development and editorial activities in this field, including the special training offered to officials and religious leaders. Now we have the skills to continue this important work.”

Minister Costoiu also expressed his confidence that “good relationships and cooperation between Romanian universities and International Religious Liberty Association, between Romania’s representatives and the experts of the Association will successfully lead future developments in promoting and respecting freedom of religion and belief. This is fundamentally linked to the peace and happiness of citizens from any country.“

After receiving the title, John Graz disclosed the motivation behind his activity and the source of energy in this sensitive area of fundamental rights. He mentioned that the title represents “a great honor for [him] and an encouragement for [his] team” and the message it communicates is “We believe, we affirm, we are convinced that, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion‘.“

John Graz has been visiting Romanian churches and officials almost every year since 1987. In collaboration with “Conscience and Liberty” Association, he presented numerous seminars for local and regional officials in more than 20 locations in Romania. Some of his books and articles have also been translated into Romanian.

On December 15, 2004, through a decree signed by the Romanian president Ion Iliescu, John Graz was conferred the National Order for Merit in rank of Commander.

Dr. Ganoune Diop, as a result, assured those present that this occasion only represents the beginning of a long and honourable collaboration.

“This title does not only represent and honour, but it also becomes a mandate. A mandate to represent the fundamental values which were so beautifully represented and recently integrated in the university activities. Wherever I go, I shall be a dedicated ambassador of Wallachia University. My desire is for your university students to be a part of the debates with “Conscience and Liberty” Association, where we would invite experts and guests, so that future generations will have adequate kowledge and perspective towards freedom of religion.”

Pictures: 1. Dr. John Graz, Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association. 2. Mihnea Costoiu, Romania’s Minister Delegate for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology Development. 3. John Graz and Ganoune Diop. (credits: Diaconu Daniel)

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