1 December 2017, GENEVA – The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (hereinafter “The Geneva Centre”) H. E. Ambassador Idriss Jazairy was awarded the 2017 Franco Cuomo International Award – under the category of Special International Award - today at the Italian Senate in Rome in recognition of the Geneva Centre’s efforts to promote a value driven human rights system and to encourage global dialogue between the Global North and the Global South.

This prestigious award is conferred upon to inter alia intellectuals, writers, journalists and dramaturgs who promote culture and social commitment. It is issued on an annual basis and aims at commemorating the teachings and the ideas of Franco Cuomo, an Italian writer and journalist who passed away in 2007. The Franco Cuomo International Award is placed under the auspices of the Senate, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism of the Italian Republic in an attempt to underline the importance of Italian cultural heritage and to enable the award to serve as an occasion to reconcile spirits and minds.

In his acceptance speech, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director expressed his gratitude to the association Ancislink and to Ms. Velia Iacovino - digital editor of the Italian newspaper Futuro Quotidiano - for conferring upon the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director the 2017 Franco Cuomo International Award.

Ambassador Jazairy likewise praised the vision of Mr. Roberto Savio – the Founder of Inter Press Service and the Director for International Relations of the European Centre for Peace and Development – for giving “a voice to the voiceless” through the foundation of Inter Press Service. He underlined that he has taken great inspiration for Mr. Savio’s commitment to promote a more just and peaceful society highlighting that they are both committed to achieving this “Utopia” in their “different ways”.

In this regard, Ambassador Jazairy said:

“Franco Cuomo had a particular interest in Thomas More’s Utopia; an interest that is shared by the Geneva Centre. This work describes an ideal world, the same world Roberto Savio and I have both devoted our energies to promoting over many decades, modestly but stubbornly. We were of course conscious of our limitations, but were, nevertheless, guided by the motto of Ancislink. We thought universally, but acted locally or even regionally, believing at times that our impact could stretch globally.

“At a time when only money dictated press content, Roberto gave a voice to the voiceless and contributed to the manifestation of truth by founding IPS.  As the founder of contemporary Algeria, Emir Abdelkader el Jazairy spoke about the influence of the press back in 1852. ‘It is like a drop of water falling from the heavens: if it falls in a gaping oyster it produces a pearl; if it falls in the mouth of a viper, it produces venom’. IPS gained international recognition from producing pearls.”  

In addition, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director stated that the recognition of the efforts of the Geneva Centre to build bridges between the Global North and the Global South will further inspire the Centre to keep its gear high in enhancing its efforts to promote a value-driven human rights system.

Against this background, Ambassador Jazairy said that “The Centre’s mission consists in fostering goodwill, throwing bridges over conceptual rifts, and promoting consensus where, on the contrary, divisions prevail. The Geneva Centre draws its legitimacy” - he said - “from being an independent think tank with no political affiliation, but with a narrative that reflects concerns of South and North alike. It believes that the enforcement of universal values has a manifest destiny: that of uniting, rather than opposing.”

Ambassador Jazairy concluded his intervention by thanking the host country Italy for honouring him and the Geneva Centre for their achievements in promoting mutual understanding and cooperative relations between peoples. The Geneva Centre’s Executive Director made the following concluding remarks:

“By conferring on me, a quarter of a century ago, the dignity of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit, Italy expressed its deep commitment to multilateralism, as well as to ending rural poverty. By honouring me again today with the Franco Cuomo International Award, Italy gives recognition to the Geneva Centre’s mission. It recognizes its essential role in promoting international understanding through the pursuit of value-driven human rights. Placing ethics in this way at the centre of Italian foreign policy is a tribute paid by Italian institutions to the openness of its generous society and of its rejection of xenophobic populism.”

The jury gave this award at the preceding award ceremony to the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura.

Videos of the award ceremony: http://www.gchragd.org/en/video-gallery/franco-cuomo-international-award-2017-ambassador-idriss-jazairy

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