Abdoulaye Wade to receive 2005 Felix Houphouët-Boigny Peace PrizeAbdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, will receive the 2005 Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize on May 16 at UNESCO Headquarters (2.30 pm, Room I). Eight Heads of State are expected to attend the ceremony: Jacques Chirac (France), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Mamadou Tandja (Niger), Marc Ravalomanana (Madagascar), Amadou Toumani Touré (Mali), João Bernardo Vieira (Guinea-Bissau), and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania).
Announcing the choice last September, jury president Henry Kissinger, a former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner, stated: “The prize is given to President Abdoulaye Wade for his contribution to democracy in his country and for his mediation in political crises and conflicts in Africa.”
Born in 1926 in Saint-Louis du Sénégal, President Wade is a lawyer by training. An associate professor of economics, he is a former Dean of the Faculty of Law and Economics at the University of Dakar. The founder of the first legal opposition party in Senegal, he has been imprisoned twice. A Member of Parliament for 26 years and several times government minister, he was elected president of the Republic of Senegal on March 19, 2000.
The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize is named after the first president of Côte d’Ivoire and consists of a cheque for 122,000 euros, a peace diploma and a gold medal. It was created in 1989 by UNESCO’s General Conference at the initiative of 120 countries and honours people, institutions and organizations that have contributed significantly to the promotion, research, safeguarding or maintenance of peace, in keeping with the United Nations Charter and UNESCO’s Constitution.
Past laureates include Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk (1991); Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Pérès and Yasser Arafat (1993) ; King Juan Carlos of Spain and former US President Jimmy Carter (1994) ; and Xanana Gusmão, President of Timor Leste (2002).