UNESCO Press Communiqué

News Paris and Fez - 4th June 1995

UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence

Paris and Fez, 16th May - 4th June 1995

On the occasion of the United Nations Year of Tolerance, and marking, the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Executive Board of UNESCO, at its 146th session, unanimously adopted the decision to establish the "UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence".

An eminent five-member international jury representing, different regions of the world, shall biannually award the US$ 40,000/- prize, donated by Mr. Madanjeet Singh, to institutions, organizations, and/or persons, who have meritoriously worked for tolerance and non-violence in scientific, artistic, cultural, or communication fields, as well as to the families of creative artists who have fallen victims to intolerance.

A well-known writer, scholar, and artist, Mr. Madanjeet Singh was imprisoned for nine months in the Indian jail of Mirzapur during Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent "Quit India" movement against British colonial rule.

The Government of India awarded him the "Tamra Patra" in 1972, by virtue of which he is paid a freedom-fighter pension, a monthly stipend that he has since given away in charity.

Mr. Madanjeet Singh has been closely associated for over forty years with UNESCO, the "conscience of humanity" as Jawaharlal Nehru hailed the organization at the time he wrote in 1954 the preface to Mr. Singh's first volume in the UNESCO World Art series, India, Paintings from Ajanta Caves. In the year 1968, UNESCO sponsored another classical publication, Himalayan Art, which was acclaimed as widely as his latest book, The Sun in Myth and Art, published in six-language editions in co-operation between UNESCO and seven most well-known publishing houses all over the world. Having served as India's Ambassador in several countries, he is at present a Special Adviser to the Director-General of UNESCO, Paris.

Prize upgraded in 2002 to US$ 100,000/- (one hundred thousand United State dollars).