Buddhist peace prize for Swiss theologian

swissinfo, February 22, 2005

Geneva, Switzerland -- The renowned Swiss theologian, Hans Küng, is to receive an award by the Japanese Niwano Peace Foundation.

<< Hans Küng has gained recognition as a pioneer in theological dialogue (Keystone)
The laureate said he would use the prize, which is worth SFr224,000 ($192,275), for his Global Ethic Foundation.
The award ceremony is to take place in Tokyo on May 11.
The panel said the understanding and insight of the Catholic theologian were indispensable for peace in the world, notably in the Middle East, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

"Together with his contributions to interfaith dialogue and cooperation, Dr Küng?s advocacy of a global ethic as a way of realising peace has won him recognition around the world," the Niwano Foundation said on Tuesday.

The Niwano Peace Prize is awarded on the basis of recommendations from more than 1,000 leading figures across the world.
Global Ethic Foundation
The 76-year-old Swiss theologian said he would use most of the prize money to support his Global Ethic Foundation, which aims to help teach children basic ethical rules and understanding of values.

Last year Küng received the Interfaith Education Award at the Parliament of the World?s Religions in Barcelona.

Küng, an ordained priest, was professor of theology at Tübingen University, Germany.

He became the first major Catholic theologian to reject papal infallibility and repeatedly called for Pope John Paul II to step down for health reasons.

Küng?s right to teach at Catholic universities was revoked by the Vatican in 1979.

The Niwano Peace Foundation was set up in 1978 by Nikkyo Niwano, who founded the Buddhist Rissho Kosei-kai organisation.

Previous prize winners include the late Brazilian archbishop Dom Helder Camara, the Neve Shalom peace village, jointly established by Jews and Palestinian Arabs in Israel, and the World Muslim Congress.