The memory of Nelson Mandela lives on, as the UN declares the 2020 laureates of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize as Ms. Marianna Vardinoyannis, of Greece, and Dr. MorissandaKouyaté, of Guinea.

This was announced by the President of the 74th General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande ahead of the General Assembly’s annual commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, marked virtually in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Vardinoyannis is a Greek philanthropist who has been involved in the fight against child cancer for about 30 years. She is the founder and president of two foundations dedicated to children: the ‘Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation’ and ‘ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer’.

Dr. Kouyaté is a Human Rights activist known for his contribution towards ending violence against women in Africa and a leading figure in the fight against harmful traditional practices against women, particularly Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).  He is the Executive Director of the Inter-African Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices (IAC); created in 1984 in Dakar, Senegal, at a time when FGM was a highly controversial and sensitive issue for discussion.

The Mandela Prize was established by a UN General Assembly resolution in June 2014, to recognize the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity, as guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations, while honouring Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life, and legacy of reconciliation, political transition, and social transformation.

The laureates were officially recognized during the virtual ceremony of UNGA’s commemoration of Mandela Day while an in-person award ceremony will take place at a later date, at the UN Headquarters in New York.



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