International Slavery Museum honoured by UNESCO

Two men shaking hands on a stage

Richard Benjamin with Deputy Director-General of UNESCO - Mr Marcio Barbosa

The International Slavery Museum has received an Honourable Mention by Koïchiro Matsuura, the UNESCO Director-General, as part of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.

The museum was one of only two institutions throughout the world to have had the honour bestowed on them in recognition of the globally significant work the museum does. UNESCO praised the International Slavery Museum for its efforts to commemorate the lives and deaths of millions of enslaved Africans, and for its work to fight against legacies of slavery such as racism, discrimination, inequalities, injustice and exploitation, as well as against contemporary forms of slavery.

The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize

The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize was created in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Mahatma Gandhi, thanks to the generosity of the Indian writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh, who is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Dedicated to advancing the spirit of tolerance in the arts, education, culture, science and communication, the Prize is awarded every two years to individuals or institutions for outstanding contributions to the promotion of tolerance and non-violence. The Prize-giving ceremony will be held today to mark International Day for Tolerance.

The International Slavery Museum

The International Slavery Museum is an international hub for resources on human rights issues, both past and present, and campaigns actively against racism and discrimination. The International Slavery Museum works with families, young people, refugees and asylum seekers, older people and Black and minority ethnic communities.

School visits are popular and the International Slavery Museum is developing an additional education resource centre containing materials for research on family and local history, and for international and scholarly projects.

UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize winners

The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize itself is shared by François Houtart (Belgium) and Abdul Sattar Edhi (Pakistan);

  • François Houtart (Belgium) for his life-long commitment to world peace, intercultural dialogue, human rights and the promotion of tolerance, and in recognition of his outstanding efforts to advance the cause of social justice in the world.
  • Abdul Sattar Edhi (Pakistan) for his life-long efforts to ameliorate the conditions of the most disadvantaged groups in Pakistan and South Asia, and to promote the ideals of human dignity, human rights, mutual respect and tolerance.

The honorary mentions, one of which also goes to the St. Petersburg Government Programme on Tolerance, acknowledge their contribution to the promotion of the ideals of human dignity, solidarity and mutual respect in multi-cultural, multi-confessional and multi-ethnic societies. The numerous activities undertaken by the two winners are fully in line with UNESCO's goals and programmes and serve as an encouragement for similar activities in other countries.

Further information on the prize is on the UNESCO website.