Equatorial Guinea award open to everyone but Equatorial Guinea
I thought Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he was retiring last week — but I guess he’s back to work again. According to a press release, he and other prominent African figures are begging the UNESCO to cancel their Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Prize for Research in the Life Sciences at their executive board meeting in Paris this month.
Apparently, the award is named after and funded by Teodoro Obiang, president of Equatorial Guinea and — to put it bluntly — not the greatest guy in the world. According to Tutu Alicante, executive director of the organization EG Justice, he has “a record of gross human rights violations and large-scale corruption.”
The sad thing is that Equatoguinean citizens don’t really have a chance of winning the annual prize, which awards $300,000 to people who have found innovative scientific solutions to major illnesses and pandemics. Why? Because three out of four Equatoguineans live in poverty — and there are no research centers in the country that would enable a citizen to qualify for the award — and even basic education and health care remain unattainable for the vast majority.
“This is money that should be benefiting the people of Equatorial Guinea, not endorsing a dictator who has trampled on their liberties and livelihoods,” said Mr. Alicante. Yikes!
Learn more about the award and download the letter to UNESCO on EG Justice’s website.