Sant´Egidio founder Andrea Riccardi was on hand when UNESCO made the announcement Thursday. The prize is named after the late Cote d´Ivoire president.
In praise of Sant´Egidio, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura noted “the essential role played by the community in bringing peace to Mozambique, its considerable contribution to the peace process in Guatemala and its many endeavors in Europe, Africa and Latin America.”
Upon receiving the prize, founder Andrea Riccardi spoke of the community´s work over more than 30 years to fight against poverty in the North and in the South: “Sant´Egidio is a movement of women and men, present in nearly 60 countries including more than 20 African countries, who, moved by faith, lead lives of solidarity with the poorest and those injured by life.”
The prize includes a check for 800,000 francs (about $114,000). Created in 1989 by UNESCO´s General Conference, the prize is awarded annually to people, institutions or organizations which have contributed significantly to the promotion, research, safeguarding or maintaining of peace.
Past winners include Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk (1991); Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat (1993); King Juan Carlos of Spain; and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (1994).