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06.11.2009

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About the awarding of the Honorary Diploma of UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize to the municipal Tolerance Program of St. Petersburg for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence ideas.

On October 20 the Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura on the unanimous recommendation of the international jury decided to award an Honorary Diploma of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize to the Tolerance Program of the St. Petersburg government for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence ideas. The program is awarded for constructive efforts in the inculcation of mutual respect and tolerance in conditions of multicultural, multiconfessional and multinational society.

The Prize was instituted by UNESCO in 1995 in association with the Indian writer, diplomat, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh and makes up US$100,000. Every two years it is awarded to institutions, organizations and private persons, who made a considerable contribution to the advocacy of ideals of tolerance by means of education, culture, science and communication. This year this prestigious prize was shared by two distinguished public figures: F.Houtart (Belgium) and A.S.Edhi (Pakistan). The International Museum of Slavery in Liverpool has got an Honorary Diploma of the Prize too.

Among the prize winners are the writer T.Nasrin (Bangladesh, 2004), the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi (2002), Head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church Shenuda III (2000), fighter for nuclear disarmament N. Desai (India) and Pakistan’s Joint Committee on Human Rights(1998), Association of 32 Women's Organizations of Rwanda (1996).

In 2006 the city of Derbent was awarded the similar honorary diploma. It is noteworthy that these two Russian cities, awarded by UNESCO for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence ideas, represent Russia in the European Coalition of Cities against Racism created with the participation of UNESCO, that numbers today about 100 European cities.

A solemn ceremony of the awarding of the prize and honorary diplomas will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on the International Day for Tolerance on November 16, declared by UNESCO in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Organization. The prize and diplomas will be presented by the new Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova the day after her inauguration.