Laureates of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize 2009

News 27th October 2009

Dear Mr Singh,
I am pleased to inform you that the Director-General of UNESCO Mr Koïchiro Matsuura has decided, following the unanimous recommendation of the International Jury, to award the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence 2009 to the following two personalities and to equally divide the amount of the Prize between:
- François HOUTART (Belgium) for his life-long commitment to world peace, intercultural dialogue, human rights and the promotion of tolerance and in recognition of his outstanding efforts to advance the cause of social justice in different parts of the world;
- Abdul Sattar EDHI (Pakistan) for his life-long efforts to contribute to the amelioration of the conditions of the most disadvantaged groups in Pakistan and South Asia and to promote the ideals of human dignity, human rights, mutual respect and tolerance.
He also decided to award two Honorary Mentions to:
- St. Petersburg Government Programme on Tolerance (Russian Federation) for its constructive efforts to inculcate mutual respect and tolerance in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society and to prevent and eradicate all forms of discrimination;
- The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) for its efforts to commemorate the lives and deaths of millions of enslaved Africans and for its work to fight against legacies of slavery such as racism, discrimination, inequalities, injustice and exploitation, as well as against contemporary forms of slavery.

Mr François Houtart is well-known for his scientific work and active social position. He is promoter of inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue, defender of human rights. One of the best sociologist of religion and theology, he is the author of numerous publications, translated in various languages. He has given lectures in more than 100 universities in all the regions. He is Honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of Vietnam and Cuba. He was President of the Committee for Human Rights in Burundi (1986-1992); founder and director of the international review “Social Compass” (1960-1990); President of the International League for People’s Rights (2003-2008). He is a member of Commission on Struggle against Racism of the Ecumenical Council of the Churches. F. Houtart is known as one of the most active promoters of the North-South cooperation and founder of the NGO Tri-Continental Centre (CETRI) renowned for its role in this field, as well as for its active contribution to the World Social Forum.

Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi is a tireless partisan of assistance to those in need and very well-known for the help provided to children, refugees, victims of natural disasters and internal strife. Through the Foundation established by him in 1957, the assistance has been given to many people in Pakistan and a number of countries, mainly in the South (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Somalia, etc.). The active position of Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi against extremism and his support for human dignity and human rights, together with his humanitarian efforts brought him a renowned reputation in the country and in the region.
The sharing of the Prize between these two personalities of different religious beliefs and representing the North and the South is an acknowledgement of their life-long activities and an encouragement for all those who are working for the promotion of tolerance, non-violence and justice in the world.
The award of honorary mentions to the St. Petersburg Government Programme on Tolerance and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool is an acknowledgement of the contribution made by them to the promotion of the ideals of human dignity, solidarity and mutual respect in the multi-cultural, multi-confessional and multi-ethnic societies. Memory of the crimes committed in the past, such as Transatlantic Slave Trade, better knowledge of the cultures and traditions of others, education for human rights and tolerance should serve to the eradication of hatred and negative stereotypes, to the prevention and elimination of racism and all forms of discrimination. The numerous activities undertaken by the two honorary mentions are fully in line with UNESCO’s goals and programmes and serve as an encouragement for the similar activities in the other countries and regions.

The Award Ceremony is to be held at UNESCO Headquarters on 16 November 2009 on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance. We shall keep you informed on the developments in its preparation.

May I take the opportunity to thank you once again for your personal contribution to the building of a universal culture of tolerance and non-violence.
With cordial regards,
Pierre Sané
Assistant Director-General for
Social and Human Sciences

Jury members (1-2 October 2009)

Professor Maurice GLELE AHANHANZO (Benin), Ph.D. in Law, distinguished statesman and lawyer of Benin, Chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Benin which drafted the Constitution of 11 December 1990. At present, President of the "Institut des droits de I'homme et de la promotion de la democratie: La democratie au quotidien" - Institute for Human Rights and Promotion of Democracy: Democracy in Everyday Life (Benin).
In this capacity, he received the Honourable Mention of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education 2002. One of the drafters of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee for eight years, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (1993 - July 2002). Author of several books"and numerous publications.

Dr. Kamal HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), prominent Bangladeshi politician, statesman and lawyer: former Minister of Law (1972-1973), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1973-1975) and Minister of Petroleum and Minerals (1974-1975); former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan (1998- 2003); former Panel-D Chairman of the UN Compensation Commission in Geneva; former Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Advisory Council and Member of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding chaired by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen (2007); JUdge ad hoc of the Intemational Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg (2003); Member of the Arbitral Tribunal under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in the Land Reclamation case involving Malaysia and Singapore (2004-2005), and in the Maritime Delimitation case involving Guyana and Surinam (2005-2007); Chairman and Member in a number of International Arbitral Tribunals, including International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and United Nations Commission on Intemational Trade Law (UNCITRAL). He is currently a member of two ICSID Tribunals.

Professor loanna KUÇURADI (Turkey), Turkish philosopher, President of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (1998-2003) and organizer of the 21st World Congress of Philosophy. Since 1979, she has been President of Philosophical Society of Turkey and is a full time academic of Maltepe University. She is also known for her efforts to promote human rights and human rights education both in Turkey and internationally. She received the honorable Mention of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education (2002). She was member of the Committee of Human Sciences of the UNESCO National Commission of
Turkey until 1997. Author of several books and numerous publications.

Mr. Masateru NAKAGAWA (Japan), President of the House of Culture of Japan in Paris.

Mr. Mokhtar TALES-BENDIAB (Algeria), Director-General of l'Institut du monde arabe à Paris, Director of the Algerian Cultural Centre in Paris.

Coordiantes of the Secretariat of the Prize

Mr. Vladimir Volodin
Secretary of the Prize
Chief of the Human Rights and Gender Equality Section
Division of Human Rights, Human Security and Philosophy
Sector of Social and Human Sciences SHS/RSP/HR-GED
1, rue Miollis,
75015 Paris
Tel.: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 38 45/44 (to dial from France 0145683844/45)
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 57 26

Ms Irina Zoubenko-Laplante
Assistant Programme Specialist SHS/RSP/HR-GED
Tel.: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 38 22 (to dial from France 0145683822)
Tel.: + 33 (0) 6 88 02 1828 (to dial from France 0688021828)
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 45685726