Former Malaysian PM Wins Hariri U.N.-Habitat Memorial Award
“Malaysia's longest-serving Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been named the recipient of 2012 Rafik Hariri U.N.-Habitat Memorial award, recognizing leadership, statesmanship and good governance, a press release said Tuesday.
The Award’s steering committee announced the winner on Monday in Paris after an international jury selected Mohamad over 13 other nominations from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, United States, Canada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, India, Bangladesh, UK, Japan and the Philippines.
The 87 year-old Malaysian's political career spanned almost 40 years and he was Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. During his time in office, Malaysia underwent rapid modernization and economic progress. He was a dominant political figure and won in five consecutive general elections, the U.N. –Habitat added in the press release.
In confirming the decision of the steering committee Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, U.N.-Habitat Scientific Advisor said “This is a remarkable individual who did remarkable things for his country. Malaysia was on the way to considerable economic progress during Mahathir's time. It is recognized that he significantly influenced all other developing countries to show how it is possible to develop in a very rapid way and in a very short time.”
The international jury Chairperson Mervat Tallawy added, “The per capita income in Malaysia during his time increased eight times. The model of thinking to get out of problems and crisis was almost the same as that of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.”
The late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri visited Malaysia several times while he was in office. “My husband was very impressed with the achievements of Mahathir,” said Nazek Rafik Hariri, President of the Rafik Hariri Foundation. “Their relationship was based on the shared interests of building confidence and economic success for their respective nations.”
Commenting on the second cycle of the Award Hind Hariri Karout, one of seven international jurors added, “For us it is a continuity of our father's legacy in a way that is not just on the borders of his country but beyond that on the international level.”
In his memory and to preserve his vision the Hariri family established the Award jointly with the U.N.-Habitat through The Rafik Hariri Foundation in March 2009. It is given to individuals, organizations or institutions anywhere in the world for significant accomplishments in the areas of: leadership, statesmanship and good governance; construction and reconstructions of settlements and communities; human resource development, and benevolent activities in fighting urban poverty and the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
In September 2004 Prime Minister Rafik Hariri who held office five times was recognized with the U.N.-Habitat Scroll of Honor, Special Citation, the highest United Nations award granted for achievements in the field of human settlement.
The launch of the Rafik Hariri Award took place in March 2010 during the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also recognized in the category of leadership, statesmanship and good governance, especially during his time as Mayor of Istanbul in the mid-1990s when he hosted the Second U.N.-Conference on Human Settlements. It led to the establishment of U.N.-Habitat as a fully-fledged U.N. program tasked with promoting adequate shelter for all.
The International Jury of the Rafik Hariri U.N.-Habitat Award is represented by; Mervat Tallawy, chairwoman of National Council of Women Egypt; Erik Berg, Senior Advisor Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway; Kalyan Ray, former chief of Water and Sanitation U.N.-Habitat, India; Hind Hariri Karout, RHF Lebanon, Charles Rizk, former justice minister Lebanon, Rafic Bizri, President of the Hariri Foundation USA from Lebanon and Hoda Tabbarah, Lebanon.
This year's winner, Mahathir Mohamad will be honored during an award ceremony in New York on September 28, 2012.