Mother Agnès Mariam-de-la-Croix
2015 Public Peace Prize Finalist
in the Internationally-reputed Peacemaker category
A Melkite nun born in Lebanon and now residing in Syria, Mother Agnès-Mariam is one of the principle spoke-persons for the Mussalaha peace and reconciliation initiative. She has worked tirelessly to bring opposing forces together through dialogue at the community level and by negotiating ceasefires, often at great personal risk. She has undertaken an international speaking tour advocating a solution negotiated by the people of Syria themselves.
Established in January 2012, Mussalaha is an initiative which unites members of all Syrian ethnic and religious communities. In a spirit of non-violence, they are committed to do everything possible to bring an end to the war without siding with any of the warring parties. Their resolve is constantly put to the test as different regions of the war-ravaged country pass from one dominant force to another.
“At a time of extreme violence in Syria and the Middle East and surrounded by wars sparked by religion and oil, Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix is a central and irreplaceable figure who continues to defend reconciliation by proposing innovative and hopeful initiatives.”
“A key person among those who have tirelessly worked toward this peace initiative is Mother Agnès-Mariam. With courage and conviction, she has been an advocate for peace, a voice seeking justice and the one who has ceaselessly encouraged the international community to acknowledge the truth about what is happening in Syria. Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, because of the tragic events brought about by the civil war in Syria and with her steadfast determination, has attempted and successfully achieved mediation between democrats and government officials under President Bachar al-Assad and has promoted reconciliation among Christian, Alawite, Druze, Muslim, Sunni and Shiite populations.”
“For the last two years, this heroic peacemaker has thought nothing of placing her own life on the line for the sake of others and at great personal risk. She personally brokered a ceasefire between rebels and the Syrian authorities in Moadamiya, Damascus province. This work facilitated the transfer of over 5,000 civilians from a besieged opposition area and included the voluntary surrender of over 500 men, many of whom had been armed opposition combatants.”
“Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix and the Mussalaha Initiative in Syria offer an example of all that is remarkable in human beings when faced with terrible adversity.”
“As a theologian and an artist, I am in solidarity with Mother Agnès-Mariam’s quest for peace in Syria and her struggle for reconciliation driven by both her compassion and determination. I believe her work is very relevant when we consider the atrocities committed by the opposition forces and suffered by the Syrian people who are victims of a conflict for which they are bearing the burden.”
“We recognize in this passionate woman religious, a sister filled with compassion and gifted with an ability for precise political analysis. This is particularly true with regard to the horrific and complex events of a civil war which includes hostile outside participants such as Hezbollah on the one hand and terrorist factions such as Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants, on the other. Mother Agnès-Mariam has always claimed that the Syrian people had the right to solve their own conflicts without the intervention of outsiders who have dubious political motives.”
“Having had the privilege of being able to ask all my question in a personal meeting with her that lasted several hours, I can testify that Mother Agnès-Mariam is a courageous and true peacemaker who dedicates her time, energy and well-being to bring together opposing forces that are often trapped in an inescapable spiral of violence and war. I can also affirm that she has at times risked her life, as she is convinced that peacemakers must be at least as ready to risk their lives in the service of peace as the military are in the service of war.“
For further information: