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2015 Sergio Vieira de Mello Award

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Sergio Vieira de Mello award 2015 goes to CAR Interfaith Peace Platform

Press release 24 July 2015

(Geneva) – The 2015 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize will be awarded to the Interfaith Peace Platform for the work achieved to reconcile religious groups in the hope of reaching a lasting peace in Central African Republic (CAR), a country devastated by a war between fractions.

The Award ceremony will take place on 19 August 2015 during the events marking World Humanitarian Day at the Palais des Nations, Room XX, at 17:30.  The founders of the Interfaith Peace Platform will be present.
It is in Sergio Vieira de Mello’s memory and to perpetuate his ideal that the Foundation attributes every two years an award to an individual, group or an organization having done something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict. Sergio, UN Secretary General representative, was killed in the UN compound bombing in Bagdad on 19 August 2003.

The Interfaith Platform promotes dialogue as a preventive measure against religious violence and a means to pursue peace across CAR. It was established in 2013 by representatives of the three most important religions in the country, the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the President of the Islamic Council in CAR, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama and by the President of the Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyaméné-Gbangou.
In the middle of the war, the three religious leaders agreed to act together to address the growing unrest in the Central Africa Republic. Since then they continue to persuade Muslims, Catholics and Protestants to avoid further violence and revenge among their religious communities. They travel extensively throughout the country, visiting cities and villages and talking to the communities about peace, mutual respect, tolerance and trust. In addition, their international lobby has led to the unanimous decision of the Security Council to establish a UN Peace Keeping force in CAR, MINUSCA.

Ravaged by violence, the Central African Republic, a country at the heart of Africa, has experienced the worst crisis in its history.  Manipulating religion for political purposes in the country has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people and sent many more on the roads to exile and displacement.

The heads of Catholic and Muslim and Protestant communities have been working together tirelessly to restore the social fabric of their country by addressing the root causes of mistrust in remote villages.
“The Interfaith Peace Platform shows what it takes during a crisis to bring a country together across the social, cultural and religious divides”, said Laurent Vieira de Mello, president of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation. “The Interfaith Peace Platform serves as a model much needed in other countries in conflict and shows that prevention and dialogue are the key for solving refugee and displacement crises.”

For more information, please contact:
Anne-Willem Bijleveld, awbijleveld [at] and tel: +41 76 3271649
Christiane Berthiaume, christianeberthiaume [at]


Registration for the annual debate 2015

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Thursday 12 March 2015, 18:30 - 20:00

Leadership Challenges in a World in Turmoil

Entrance is free, but you must register to access the Palais des Nations. See below for important information on security, access and CNN filming.



António Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

zeid-al-hussein.jpg Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


amanpour_3.jpg Christiane Amanpour
Chief International Correspondent, CNN

Sergio Vieira de Mello’s long and distinguished UN career saw him dealing with refugee and human rights issues from Bangladesh, Cyprus and Mozambique in the 1970s, through to Peru, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Timor Leste in the 1990s. 
He became UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2002, as well as the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Iraq in 2003.
More than a decade on from Sergio’s tragic death in a Baghdad terrorist attack, the world sadly continues to be plagued by conflict and crisis.
Leading international journalist Christiane Amanpour, herself a veteran reporter from conflicts all over the globe, talks with the UN’s human rights and refugee chiefs about leadership challenges in a world in turmoil.


Palais des Nations
Assembly Hall, A Building, 3rd floor - Door 15

Security and access

All attendees who do not hold a UN badge are kindly requested to register before midnight 10 March 2015.

  • Each registration is valid for one person.
  • You must enter the UN via the Pregny Gate on Avenue de la paix.
  • Please bring a photo identification with you.
  • There is no parking available for non-accredited vehicles; the closest bus stop is “Appia”

CNN Filming

This event will be filmed for the television show “Amanpour”, CNN International's flagship global affairs interview program. The event will be broadcast on CNN International at 20:00 the same evening.


Please be seated before 18:25. The doors to the Assembly Hall will be closed from 18:30 to enable filming to begin on time. You will not be able to enter the main part of the Assembly Hall after this time.

Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis.


This event will be conducted in English; simultaneous translation English/French will be available.

svm-logo.png          Graduate Institute Logo        un-logo-sdm.jpg

This event is organised by the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation and the Graduate Institute, and hosted by the United Nations Office at Geneva, in cooperation with CNN.

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Sergio Vieira de Mello Award 2015 goes to CAR Interfaith Peace Platform

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