ASTANA – King Abdullah II of Jordan will be awarded Kazakhstan’s equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize on Nov. 16 for his contribution to “regional stability, global security and steadfast stance against war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” officials in the Kazakh capital confirmed on Thursday.
The first Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security, which comes with a $1 million cash award, was officially launched earlier this week by President Nursultan Nazarbayev when he named Abdullah as the prize’s first recipient.
“His Majesty’s commitment to global peace and security in recent years has been particularly notable through his brave effort to absorb over 1.5 million Syrian refugees into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and to turn the Middle East into a zone of peace, including through the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East,” Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Kazakhstan officials confirmed Thursday that a gala ceremony to present the inaugural prize will take place in Astana on Nov. 16.
In subsequent years, a special committee is to award the prize to the laureates on Aug. 29 to coincide with the anniversary of Nazarbayev’s 1991 order to close the Soviet-era Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the celebration of the United Nation’s International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The Central Asian country has been a staunch proponent of all global antinuclear initiatives since its independence in 1991 and has spearheaded several international drives to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, the most prominent being the Atom Project that lobbies for a global ban on nuclear weapons testing.
Astana said the prize was launched in the spirit of Nazarbayev’s Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century,” which the Kazakh leader presented on April 1 during the IV Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.