Europe’s only ecumenical university, Liverpool Hope, will award Canon Andrew White - also known as the Vicar of Baghdad - with the title of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) this summer.
Canon White will be presented with the university honour on Thursday 21st July 2016 at the university’s graduation ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
The award is in recognition of his courage as Vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad, his work setting up a new parish in Jordan, and his commitment to reconciliation across the Middle East, in particular through the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.
Canon Andrew White pastored the only Anglican Church in Iraq, St George’s Church in Baghdad, until November 2014 – a position which afforded him the moniker ‘The Vicar of Baghdad’. Due to the threat of sectarian violence in Iraq, he, like thousands of other Christians, was forced to flee. He is now based in Israel and Jordan where he has set up a new parish in Marka, a suburb of Amman, and where his parishioners are Iraqi Christians in exile, forced from their homes in Nineveh and other parts of Northern Iraq now held by Islamic state.
Prior to St. Georges, Canon White worked for many years in Israel/Palestine, playing a key role in negotiating the end of the Bethlehem siege in 2002. In 2002, he partook in the Alexandria Process – an active dialogue between Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to build understanding and work towards peace in The Holy Land. Since 2005, he has worked full time as President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), which he set up to provide spiritual and material relief to refugees displaced by violent upheaval.
In his role as President of FRRME, Canon White also works with religious leaders towards bringing peace and reconciliation to the Middle East. Before becoming a Priest, Canon White qualified as an Operating Department Practitioner at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1985. Following St. Thomas’, he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge University, and studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Canon White then served as Curate at St. Mark’s, Battersea Rise, London, and Vicar of the Church of Ascension, Balham Hill.
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University said: “Canon Andrew White’s unwavering dedication to peace and reconciliation, even when that has meant putting himself at risk, is an inspiration to us all. The humility with which he carries out his work humbles everyone around him. In a world full of instability, Canon White has been a channel for peace and a voice for hope. We look forward to officially welcoming him into the Liverpool Hope community.”
Canon Andrew White said: “As the only ecumenical university in Europe, Liverpool Hope University has played a significant role in reconciliation, particularly between Catholics and Protestants. This inclusive approach, which is at the heart of all good reconciliation work, has helped make the university a bastion of academic excellence. I am deeply honoured to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Liverpool Hope University in recognition of my life's work. It has been a long and, at times, difficult path but a great deal has been achieved. The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, of which I am President, will continue to bring relief and reconciliation to the broken parts of the Middle East."
Also receiving honorary degrees in the same week are:
Dame Lorna Muirhead DBE, Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside. Dame Lorna will receive the award of Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) on Tuesday 19th July 2016 in recognition of her outstanding service to Merseyside during her time as Lord Lieutenant and her 40 year commitment to the health and welfare of mothers and babies on Merseyside.
Professor John Schembri, Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Malta. Professor Schembri will receive the Doctor of Education (honoris causa) on Wednesday 20th July 2016 in recognition of his contribution to Geography education at both university and school level.