Duchess receives Holy See peace award, praises microcredit schemes

Microcredit is an important tool in the struggle against poverty, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg said this week as she received the Path to Peace Award from a Holy See foundation.

The Havana-born mother of five was recognised in New York for "her tireless contribution to humanitarian causes." Archbishop Celestino Migliore presented the annual award in his capacity as the President of the Path to Peace Foundation and the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations.

In her address touching on micro-credits, the Grand Duchess said: "It is essential to meet with human beings who not only give something to others, but who give themselves to others."

She explained that during a visit to Bangladesh in 1998, she was convinced "of the efficiency of this tool [micro-credit] in the struggle against poverty, based on principles of trust and solidarity, through which the poorest of the poor are given back their dignity."

Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that he himself had witnessed the charitable work that the Grand Duchess, and her husband, Prince Henry, carry out in several fields.

In particular, he mentioned their commitment in refugee camps in Cambodia and Thailand.

During the reception, which gathered members of the Path to Peace Foundation, special guests and the diplomatic corps accredited to the UN, Cardinal Edward Egan of New York commented on the intense diplomatic and humanitarian endeavour of the Holy See.

He also mentioned the determined work within the UN carried out by Cardinal Martino, now continued by Archbishop Migliore.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was born in 1956 in Havana, Cuba, but fled Cuba in 1959 at the time of the revolution. In 1980 she graduated in political sciences at the University of Geneva, where she met Prince Henri.

Since 1997, the Grand Duchess acts as a Good-Will Ambassador of UNESCO and supports in this respect specifically organisations which are active in the field of micro-credits and child protection.

According to the Luxembourg Government website (www.gouvernement.lu), the Grand Duchess is also showing a strong interest in the social situation in her country, dedicating her efforts mainly to the children and families in danger, to the social integration of persons who are physically, mentally or socially handicapped and to gender related issues.

Duchess Hails Micro-credit as Path to Peace,
Luxembourg's Maria Teresa Receives Award (Zenit 14/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg (The Path to Peace Foundation)
Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg (UNESCO)
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa (Duchy of Luxembourg)
Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations: Archbishop Celestino Migliore
The Path to Peace Foundation
Global Microcredit Summit 2006
European Microfinance Network

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16 Jun 2006