The 2019 UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize was awarded to Instituto do Património Cultural in Cabo Verde, for its outstanding contribution to the safeguarding, management and sustainable development. The award was presented at a special ceremonyat UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on November 18.
Funded by the Government of Greece and named after the late Greek actress and former Culture Minister Melina Mercouri, in 1995, the prize rewards an individual, institution or non-governmental organization for outstanding efforts to protect and manage cultural landscapes, i.e. sites that embody an enduring, intimate relationship between people and their environment.
According to the ministry’s announcement, “the award has not been given out since 2011”, while “this year it has been re-announced and will be awarded every two years, following strong intervention by the Greek delegation and a UNESCO Executive Council decision.
Regarding the award given to the Instituto do Patrimonio Cultural from Cape Verde, Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni noted: “It is an organization recognized for its outstanding contribution to the protection and management of the cultural landscape at the Natural Park of Cova, Paul and Ribeira da Torre, as well as efforts to improve the living conditions of local communities and their traditions. ”
The director of the award-winning Instituto do Patrimonio Cultural Institution, Hamilton Jair Fernandes, who received the award from the minister, expressed his “gratitude to Greece for being bestowed this honor to the Institute and his country”, as well as his admiration for the Greek culture.
In her address, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay made a special reference to the Greek initiative to protect cultural monuments from climate change.