Muslim-Jewish American Organization “Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom” Receives UNAOC-BMW Group Intercultural Innovation Award

MADRID, Spain, Dec. 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Muslim-Jewish American Organization “Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom” was selected as one of ten global grassroots organizations to receive the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, during an Awards Ceremony held last night at the Royal Theatre in Madrid, Spain. The selection process was highly competitive, with over 1,200 applications from 128 countries.

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is a Muslim-Jewish grassroots organization in North America, soon expanding to Germany, which focuses on interfaith engagement to build the respect, trust, and relationships necessary to prevent and combat hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice. Through chapter meetings, regional and international gatherings, as well as various training and resources, the organization’s “sisters” develop relationships and gain the skills to react quickly to incidents in their communities in order to stand together in the face of hate.

“This award proves what we set out to do: we could change the world one woman at a time,” said the organization’s Executive Director Sheryl Olitzky. "It demonstrates the impact of creating inclusive spaces that foster peace and love between Jewish and Muslim women," added the organization’s co-founder and Atiya Aftab.

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom has grown into a movement reaching thousands of women and girls, changing the way in which the two faith groups view each other, celebrating their commonalities, and respecting their differences.

The Intercultural Innovation Award supports grassroots initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding, thereby contributing to peace, cultural diversity, and more inclusive societies. This year, the Awards Ceremony was chaired by the High Representative for UNAOC and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Market Communications, BMW Group.

In addition to a financial grant, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom will receive capacity-building and mentorship support from UNAOC and the BMW Group to help its work expand and replicate to other contexts. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates a more profound impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project.

Learn more about the project:

Media inquiries:
- Ms. Milena Pighi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, BMW Group: Phone (Germany): +49-89-382-66563; Email: 
- Mr. Alessandro Girola, Programming Coordinator, UNAOC: Phone (USA): +1 (929) 274-6217; Email: