South Africa’s Institute for Justice and Reconciliation wins UNESCO award

28 May 2008

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) selected the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation of South Africa as this year’s recipient of its Prize for Peace Education.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) selected the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation of South Africa as this year’s recipient of its Prize for Peace Education.

The Cape Town-based Institute was chosen “for its outstanding efforts in building sustainable reconciliation through education and in addressing systemic injustice in Africa,” according to the Prize jury led by Mohammed Arkoun, Professor of History of Islamic Thought.

Founded in 2000, it seeks to promote reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa and encourage peace, and has helped other African countries – including Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi – take part in a similar process.

The Institute works with governments, civil society and academics in countries of transition to enhance justice, development and human security thought policy research, analysis and capacity building.

One of its key projects called “Turning Points in History” has resulted in the first comprehensive South African history textbook for secondary schools since the end of apartheid to be published. Using oral tradition to forge a “dialogue between perspectives,” it includes personal stories.

The $40,000 prize, funded by the Nippon Foundation, seeks to boost public awareness of the need for peace. Previous recipients include Sri Lankan judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry, Mother Teresa, Father Emile Shoufani, Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng and Paulo Freire.

 

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