Secretary-General's message to Rabbi Arthur Schneier's Papal Knighthood Investiture Ceremony
April 27, 2015
New York, NY
It is a pleasure to congratulate my good friend Rabbi Arthur Schneier upon his appointment by His Holiness Pope Francis as a "Knight of Saint Sylvester".

Rabbi Schneier has been a long-standing global leader in promoting INTER-FAITH UNDERSTANDING and defending freedom of religion. His world-renowned Appeal of Conscience Foundation has done important work in nurturing reconciliation and building bridges among peoples of diverse backgrounds and traditions.

Rabbi Schneier has also been a strong supporter of the United Nations, including through his engagement in the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, which strives to counter voices of hatred with voices of moderation. As he has said, "A crime perpetrated in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion".

I have had the honour of attending many Holocaust remembrance ceremonies held annually at Rabbi Schneier's Park East Synagogue, and seen first-hand his great gift for bringing people together and talking to his congregation with wisdom and power. Just last week, at a meeting of faith leaders at United Nations Headquarters, Rabbi Schneier joined in expressing his solidarity with global efforts to combat extremism and uphold human rights.

At a time of rising sectarian tensions and provocation, RECONCILIATION AND MUTUAL RESPECT is needed more than ever. Rabbi Schneier's efforts are playing an invaluable role in our vital collective efforts to secure a future of dignity for all. I would like to express my gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for recognizing the contributions of a valued ally of the United Nations.
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