The Council of Europe announced late last week that the 2010 winners of the North-South Prize are Canada’s Louise Arbour and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The North-South Prize has been awarded every year since 1995 to two candidates who have stood out for their exceptional commitment to promoting North-South solidarity.
The candidates, preferably a man and a woman, must have distinguished themselves in the following areas: protection of human rights, defence of pluralist democracy, public awareness-raising on issues of global interdependence and solidarity, and strengthening the North-South partnership.
The ceremony for the North-South Prize will be held in the Portuguese Parliament on 29 March.
The Prize will be awarded by the President of Portugal, in the presence of the Speaker of Parliament, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Executive Council of the North-South and many other personalities.
Louise Arbour, a Canadian national, began her academic career in 1974. In 1995, Ms. Arbour was appointed a Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario.
In 1996, she was appointed by the UN Security Council as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. In 1999, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Ms. Arbour has received honorary doctorates from some thirty universities and numerous medals and awards and is a member of many distinguished professional societies and organisations. Louise Arbour has served as President and CEO of the International Crisis Group since July 2009. Previously she acted as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004 to 2008.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known commonly as Lula, was the 35th President of Brazil, elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 for a second term that ended on 1 January 2011.
He started his political activism at 19 by getting involved in union activities and, after a very committed participation in labour movements, in 1980, together with a group of academics, intellectuals and union leaders, founded the ‘Partido dos Trabalhadores’ (PT) or Workers’ Party.
During his mandate as President, Brazil’s foreign policy became renowned for fostering ‘South-South’ relations, with the fight against poverty and the promotion of economic development and social equality around the globe.