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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
05-11-2004 3:00 pm The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will award the UNESCO Mandajeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence to the 2004 laureate, Bangladeshi writer and journalist Taslima Nasrin, in a ceremony at Organization Headquarters on November 16 (Room I, 6 p.m.).

Coinciding with International Day for Tolerance, celebrated annually on November 16, the ceremony will take place in the presence of former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango, President of the international jury which recommended the choice of Ms Nasrin to the Director-General. UNESCO Artist for Peace, Sergei Markarov, will give a piano recital for this occasion.

A qualified physician, Ms Nasrin began receiving public recognition in the late 1980s for her writing against the oppression of women in some Asian countries. Facing death threats from Moslem fundamentalists, she continues fighting for a new civil code, based on gender equality, and for secular education. Ms Nasrin has published more than 20 books in Bengali, some of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. She has won several distinctions, including the Indian literary award Ananda Puroshkar; the European Parliaments’ Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the Kurt Tucholsky Award from Swedish PEN.

The $100,000 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize was created in 1995 thanks to the generosity of the Indian writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh, who is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Dedicated to advancing the spirit of tolerance in the arts, education, culture, science and communication, the Prize is awarded every two years to an individual or an institution for exceptional contributions in the field of tolerance promotion.

Previous laureates are: Rwanda’s Pro-femmes Twese Hamwe association of 32 women’s groups (1996), Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights (Pakistan) and the Indian anti-nuclear campaigner Narayan Desai (1998), Egyptian Pope Chenouda III, head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church (2000), and to Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (2002).

Source Media Advisory. No.2004-76


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