THE HAGUE, 24 October 2011 – The International Jury of the Max van der Stoel Award today awarded its 2011 prize to the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje (NDC Skopje) for its outstanding work to promote integrated education and improve co-operation between ethnic communities.
The prize of 50,000 euros was presented to NDC Skopje at a ceremony in The Hague. The Award was established in 2001 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands honouring Max van der Stoel, the first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, who passed away earlier this year. The ceremony included a special tribute in his honour.
“In many regards, NDC Skopje has continued the important legacy left by the late Max van der Stoel in the country. Its work also supports education reforms, which aim at eliminating inequalities and guaranteeing national minority rights while promoting interethnic interaction,” said Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities, in his capacity as chairperson of the six-member international jury.
According to the jury, NDC Skopje has taken up the challenging task of bringing together students, parents and teachers in an area that has been affected by the 2001 conflict and is characterized by great ethnic divisions. Its integrated bilingual schools are models for promoting respect for diversity, bilingualism and harmonious relations between teachers, pupils and their parents from different ethnic backgrounds.
The NDC Skopje, established in 2000, is part of the Nansen Dialogue Network, which supports intercultural and interethnic dialogue with the aim of preventing conflict, fostering reconciliation and building peace.
The Max van der Stoel Award is given every two years to a person, group or institution for extraordinary and outstanding achievements in improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE participating States.
Video documentary on the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje is available at http://www.eurovision.net/worldlink/front/view/mediaDetail.php?mediaNo=881 from 24 October till 24 November 2011, and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f0eMcF9uI0.
For more information on the Nansen Network and NDC Skopje, please see www.nansen-dialogue.net/ndcskopje and http://www.nansen-dialogue.net. For more information on the work of the HCNM and the Max van der Stoel Award, please see: www.osce.org/hcnm. A selection of photographs will be available after the ceremony on this website or upon request.
For more information, please contact:
Lars Hansen, Personal Advisor to the High Commissioner and Media Contact
Tel: +31 (0)70 312 5503
Mobile: +31 (0)64 185 0315