We are pleased to congratulate Chevalier Manfred Erdenberger KCLJ of the Humanitarian Grand Priory of Europe (GPEU), who has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The award was presented by Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker at a small ceremony in the Cologne City Hall. Numbers were limited by the pandemic regulations and the Mayor delegated the customary pinning of the Order of Merit to Erdenberger's wife Rose Erdenberger.

The award recognises Erdenberger's decades-long commitment to reconciliation in and with the Middle East, especially to non-partisan as well as interfaith dialogue. As editor-in-chief and head of the (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) WDR Politics programming and as chief Middle East correspondent, he has travelled several times since 1995 to the countries of the Middle East to report on politics and economics, but also on the plight of the war-torn population.

The Mayor appreciated in particular the commitment of Chevalier Erdenberger to the Order of St Lazarus and the Lazarus welfare organization since 1981, beginning with work in Poland. He was appointed to the Order's Chapter of the Humanitarian Grand Priory of Europe in 2014, and still supports a Syrian aid project in the Order.

In 2006, he founded the German Initiative for the Middle East (DINO) in Münster. The goal of the initiative is to promote a willingness among the population to study the history and development of the Middle East, thus supporting renewal and peace in the region. In 2007 he was awarded the Crusaders Medal, and in 2013 received the Mohammad Nafi Chelebi Peace Award, which honors people and groups who strive for peace and promote talks between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

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