ECOWAS Attends Official Award Ceremony of Félix Houphouët-Boigny-UNESCO Peace Prize in Yamoussoukro

Photo Prix Fhb Paix
Photo Prix Fhb Paix

H.E. Mrs Fanta Cissé, ECOWAS Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire, took part in the official Award Ceremony of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny-UNESCO Peace Prize. The Prize was awarded to Mrs Angela Merkel, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and winner of the 2022 edition, on Wednesday, 8 February 2023 at a ceremony in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.

The ceremony, chaired by H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, was attended by several Heads of State including H.E. Umaru Sissoco Embalo, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. George Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, and H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, and Chairperson of the African Union.

Former Presidents Henri Konan Bédié and Laurent Gbagbo, Mrs Thérèse Houphouët-Boigny, Mr Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Vice-President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Patrick Achi, Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, Heads of State Institutions, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Audrey Azoulay were also present at the important ceremony.

The Félix Houphouët-Boigny-UNESCO Peace Prize, named after the first President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, was established in 1989 by a resolution unanimously adopted by 120 UNESCO Member States. It honours living individuals and active public or private institutions or organisations worldwide that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace.

The Jury awarded the 2022 Prize to Mrs Angela Merkel, former Federal Chancellor of Germany, for granting asylum and protection to more than one million people fleeing the war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea, in 2015, when she was still in office.

Speaking during the occasion, President Alassane Ouattara noted that the hosting of the ceremony in Yamoussoukro was an opportunity to celebrate the efforts made to preserve the peace that was so dear to the Founding Father of the Ivorian Nation, while emphasizing the legendary hospitality of Cote d’Ivoire both in times of crisis and in times of peace.

He also congratulated and commended the Prize Winner, highlighting her leadership both in Germany and around the world, and her values of courage, humanism and solidarity.

The ceremony featured several other addresses, notably by the Director-General of UNESCO, President Macky Sall, representing Mr Abdou Diouf, former President of the Republic of Senegal and Patron of the Prize, and former President Henri Konan Bedie, Sponsor of the Prize. They all commended the leadership of the Prize Winner, Mrs Angela Merkel, her courage, humanism and sense of solidarity. They also called for efforts towards building a better world.

After receiving her Prize, consisting of a certificate and a medal, from President Alassane Ouattara and Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Angela Merkel donated the accompanying cash prize, worth US$150,000 to “SOS Enfance en danger”, an NGO based in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Jury also awarded an “honourable mention” to Mrs Julienne Lusenge, President of the NGO “Solidarité féminine pour la paix et le développement intégral,” for her commitment to women who were victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The ceremony ended with a group photograph and a reception hosted by the presidential couple.

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