UN: Namibian, Portuguese win inaugural UN Nelson Mandela Prize

New York, US (PANA) - UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa on Monday
in announced that Dr. Helena Ndume of Namibia, and Jorge Sampaio, of Portugal,
are the first ever laureates of the UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.

PANA in New York reports that the prize was established in June 2014 by the UN General
Assembly to recognize the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service
of humanity by promoting the purposes and principles of the UN.

It also honours and pays homage to Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life and legacy of reconciliation, political transition, and social transformation.

At a news briefing at the UN headquarters, Mr. Kutesa said the Selection Committee
entrusted with the responsibility for selecting the winners decided on two persons
as the inaugural laureates of the UN Nelson Mandela Prize.  

He said that Dr. Ndume is an ophthalmologist whose life’s work has been
the treatment of blindness and eye-related illnesses, both in Namibia and throughout
the developing world.

He said Mr. Sampaio became a leader in the struggle for the restoration
of democracy in Portugal, served as Deputy Minister for External Cooperation; as
Mayor of Lisbon from 1989 to 1995, and, from 1996 to 2006, as President of the

On behalf of UN member states, Mr. Kutesa congratulated Dr. Ndume and Mr. Sampaio and thanked the Selection Committee for its hard work and dedication.

He recalled that nominations were received from a broad variety of sources
including UN member states and Observer states, entities and intergovernmental
organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in
the sessions and work of the UN General Assembly and the UN Economic and
Social Council.

Others were institutions of higher education, as well as independent research
centres and institutes, NGOs in consultative status with the UN Economic and
Social Council, and laureates of the Prize.

Chaired by the President of the General Assembly, the UN Selection
Committee for the Prize this year was composed of permanent representatives
of Algeria, Latvia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Sweden, representing the five UN
geographical regional groups.

The permanent representative of South Africa was an ex-officio member of the
Committee, and the UN Department of Public Information served as the

The award ceremony will take place on 24 July 2015, at the UN headquarters in
New York, and it will be part of the annual commemoration by the General
Assembly of Nelson Mandela International Day.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR  22June2015

22 june 2015 17:37:19

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