With the blessings of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the approval of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is pleased to announce that the 2023 Athenagoras Human Rights Award will be presented to the Prince’s Trust. The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity that was founded by His Majesty King Charles III, then The Prince of Wales, in 1976. Prince’s Trust International has had a major positive impact upon Greece, particularly while that nation has been plagued with high unemployment rates. The Award will be presented on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Order’s annual Athenagoras Human Rights Award banquet at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City.

Upon learning about the invitation from Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander, Buckingham Palace informed the Order that “as Founder and President, His Majesty King Charles III was delighted to hear of the very kind award to the Prince’s Trust.” The Prince’s Trust is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people. Its royal charter states that the Trust’s primary objective is “to promote by all charitable means the mental, spiritual, moral and physical development and improvement of young people, and to provide opportunities for them to develop to their full capacities and enable them to become responsible members of society so that their conditions of life may be improved.”

The Prince’s Trust is the United Kingdom’s leading youth charity. It began when then-Prince Charles used his Navy severance pay – £7,400 ($9,200) – to fund a number of community initiatives, and has grown into one of the most successful charitable organizations in that country. It offers help to youths aged 11 to 30 in the United Kingdom by helping them get jobs, education and training. Each year it works with around 60,000 young people, and has helped over 1,000,000 young people transform their lives. The Prince’s Trust has created 125,000 entrepreneurs and given business support to 395,000 people in the United Kingdom. During the ten-year period of 2006 to 2016 alone, the value of its charitable efforts for youth was estimated at £1.4 billion ($1.75 billion).

Edward Enninful OBE, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and Prince’s Trust Global Ambassador, stated in Time Magazine in April: “As the quiet and fastidious work of the Prince’s Trust, a charity set up by the then Prince of Wales, began to put our friends and family into steady employment, its outreach programs inspired many of us and instilled confidence.”

In November 2015, His Majesty founded Prince’s Trust International in order to share his successful programs and experience with strategic partners in countries outside the United Kingdom. In Greece, with youth unemployment in Greece at record high levels (even before the pandemic, the country had the highest rates in Europe, at 35.6%), Prince’s Trust International has labored tirelessly to combat this urgent crisis. It works with a variety of large companies and other important partners in Greece to deliver education, enterprise and employment programs to young people. In collaboration with its Greek partners, Prince’s Trust International has found jobs for numerous young people in Greece. The Trust now works in over 20 countries and, through Prince’s Trust USA, has recently started piloting enterprise programs in Chicago and New York.

In recognizing the Prince’s Trust’s long and impressive record of philanthrophy, Dr. Limberakis stated: “The Prince’s Trust is a shining example of the Christian Faith put into practice, with innovative and effective programs that have helped over a million young people turn their lives around. The Trust’s selfless and generous work in Greece has greatly aided that nation and helped enable it to weather its financial crisis. His Majesty King Charles III has a profound understanding of the scriptural admonition to love your neighbor as yourself, and in the Prince’s Trust, he has brilliantly demonstrated the meaning and importance of that divine command. The Trust thus richly deserves to receive the Athenagoras Human Rights Award.”

The Athenagoras Human Rights Award was established in 1986 by the National Council of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America. The Award was named after one of the great Church leaders of the 20th Century, the late Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I. The Award is presented every year at the Annual Banquet of the Order to a person or organization that has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people.

Previous recipients include His Beatitude Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa; His Beatitude Epiphaniy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine; President Joseph Biden (when he was vice president); former President Jimmy Carter; former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush; Nobel Laureate and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel; Mother Theresa of Calcutta; and the scientists who developed COVID vaccines and treatments.

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