UNESCO Banner

DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Koïchiro Matsuura awards 2006 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education to Sri Lankan judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry

On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, on 21 September, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, awarded the 2006 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education to Sri Lankan judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry.

Mr Weeramantry was judge and Vice- President of the International Court of Justice of The Hague and is now Chairman of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER).

The ceremony was held at UNESCO Headquarters in the presence of the members of the international jury of the Prize, comprised of Mr Cassam Uteem (Mauritius), Former President of the Republic of Mauritius and President of the international jury; Mr Mohammed Arkoun (Algeria), Emeritus Professor of Arab Language and Literature at the Sorbonne, and visiting Professor at the Institute of Ismailî Studies in London; Ms Mireille Delmas-Marty (France), Professor of Law at the Collège de France; Mr Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (Peru), Former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Former Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Peru to UNESCO; and Ms Wu Qing (People’s Republic of China), Deputy at the Beijing People's Congress.

Granting the prize to Christopher Gregory Weeramantry “in recognition of his ongoing commitment and concrete work in support of the concept and culture of peace throughout his long and fruitful career”, Mr Matsuura emphasized the significant role played by the Peace Prize in alerting public opinion and mobilizing the conscience of humanity in the cause of peace.

“The promotion of peace is contingent upon the respect of cultural and religious differences and the recognition that these differences reflect the rich diversity of humankind. It therefore requires a commitment to dialogue and mutual knowledge and understanding between civilizations, cultures and peoples. To achieve a culture of peace the principles of diversity and dialogue must be deeply embedded within each and every one of us”, he stated. Mr Matsuura also reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to promote quality education as an essential tool for “conquering the evils of ignorance and hate, and for promoting the values of tolerance, justice and equality.” “Through quality education we can develop a fuller understanding of other civilizations, and learn to respect and appreciate our cultural and religious differences. Educators are crucial allies in our quest for peace”, he added.

The Director-General also presented a Special Mention of the Prize to the Fundación para la Reconciliación (Colombia), represented by its founder and Executive Director, Father Leonel Narváez Gómez, in recognition of the Fundación’s “efforts in introducing the concept of ‘emotional literacy’ as a means of promoting reconciliation and forgiveness.”

The prize-giving ceremony, which had been preceded by a round-table on “Culture of Peace Today”, was followed by a piano concert given by the Sri Lankan pianist Mrs Shani Diluka.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash info n°140-2006
  • 22-09-2006
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific