King Abdullah II of Jordan has been named the winner of the 2018 Templeton Prize, the John Templeton Foundation announced on June 27.
The prize, which recognizes living individuals for exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension, is going to King Abdullah II for his work to establish religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions. In its announcement, the Foundation cited the Three Points of the Amman Message, a statement launched by the Jordanian monarch in 2004 to promote tolerance and unity in the Muslim world.
Additionally, in 2006, King Abdullah II supported and funded an initiative called A Common Word Between Us and You, which worked to unite Islamic and Christian leaders around the shared commandments in both faiths: to love God and to love your neighbor. And in 2010, he proposed World Interfaith Harmony Week, which is observed annually by the United Nations during the first week in February.
“Through these groundbreaking initiatives and many others, King Abdullah II has led a reclamation of Islam’s moderate theological narrative from the distortions of radicalism,” the Templeton Foundation said in its press release.
Heather Templeton Dill, president of the Foundation and granddaughter of philanthropist Sir John Templeton, who the Templeton Prize is named after, called King Abdullah II a "spiritual entrepreneur," or someone with secular and political responsibilities who also values and protects free expression of religion. “He has underscored the importance of Islam’s diversity rather than seeking to invent or enforce uniformity where none exists,” she said.
King Abdullah II is the author of Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril (Viking, 2011). He will be formally awarded the Templeton Prize, valued at £1.1 million (about $1.6 million) in Washington, D.C. on November 13. Previous winners include 2017's Alvin Plantinga, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham.