Envoy Defends UNESCO Award Named After Equatorial Guinea President

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Photo by: Rodrigues Pozzebom / ABr

UNESCO’s decision to create an award for life sciences achievement in the name of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is not intended to glorify the African leader, according to the country’s envoy to the said U.N. organization.

As reported by Devex, UNESCO’s plans to launch the award have attracted criticism from international non-governmental organizations such as Global Witness and Human Rights Watch. Critics have noted that it was ironic to name a prize recognizing achievements in life sciences after a “president whose 30-year-rule has been marked by the brutal poverty and fear of his people and a global reputation for governmental corruption.”

“I think that there is no place for controversy around this prize. It is clear that this prize shouldn’t worry the international community. And, we are very disappointed because of the controversy that has (arisen) because of the prize,” said Juan Bautista Osubita, Equatorial Guinea’s permanent delegate to UNESCO.

Osubita explained that the award was designed to aid research on cures for various problems affecting human life.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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