Cape Verde institute awarded ‘Melina Mercouri’ prize in Paris for protection of cultural landscape

Instituto do Patrimonio Cultural, an environmental organization of Cape Verde, was presented with the Melina Mercouri prize on Tuesday, at a ceremony held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

According to a Greek Ministry of Culture statement, the prize was established by Greece in 1995 and is awarded biennially to individuals, foundations or institutions for protection of cultural landscapes. It is the only international prize of its kind.

The ministry said that the prize had not been handed out after 2011, but has been reactivated following interventions by the Greek representation at UNESCO. “The Culture ministry has assumed the entire cost of the award,” it said.

Cape Verde’s Instituto do Patrimonio Cultural “is an organization recognized for its unique contribution in the protection and management of the cultural landscape of the Cova, Paul and Ribeira da Torre national forest, and for its efforts in viable development for local residents, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said at the Paris ceremony. “Specifically, the organization has placed a priority on measures of traditional management, through collective collaboration, which improves living conditions for local societies,” she continued.

Institute director Hamilton Jair Fernandes, who received the prize from Mendoni, expressed his gratitude for the honor bestowed by Greece on the organization and his country, and his admiration for Greek culture. The Culture minister presented Jair Fernandes with a copy of “Thinking Athena”, the original of which is at the Acropolis Museum.

In her own address, UNESCO Director General Audrey make special note of Greece’s initiative to protect cultural monuments from climate change.