The prize, which includes a monetary award of £1.1 million (approximately $1.4 million), recognizes a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. King Abdullah II was recognized for his efforts to seek religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions.
Born in Amman in 1962, Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein assumed the throne in 1992, following the death of his father, King Hussein bin Talal. King Abdullah’s work to promote a peace-affirming Islam has included the 2004 Amman Message, which articulated a clear understanding of the central elements of Islam and affirmed that terrorism and violence have no place in the religion; the 2006 "A Common Word Between Us and You" initiative, which in 2007 led to an open letter from Islamic religious leaders to Christian religious leaders containing a call for peace and harmony; and the 2010 proposal to create a UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly. In recent years, he has pushed for legislation to restore and develop Al-Maghtas, also known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan, considered by most Christians to be the site of Jesus Christ’s baptism. His leadership also has guaranteed safe haven for Jordan’s various ethnic and religious groups as well as refugees from conflict areas in the region.
"His Majesty King Abdullah’s work is indeed inspiring," said Templeton Foundation president Heather Templeton Dill. "He has underscored the importance of Islam’s diversity rather than seeking to invent or enforce uniformity where none exists. He has built upon the power of principled pluralism to extend religious harmony among the 1.8 billion followers of Islam, the world’s second largest religion, so that each can recognize one another as Muslims."
"Our world needs to confront challenges to our shared humanity and values," said King Abdullah II. "They are the very ground of the coexistence and harmony our future depends on. And this is why I feel it is so urgent to promote tolerance and mutual respect, support inclusion and hope, speak out against Islamophobia and other wrongs, and make our values a real force in the daily life of the modern world."