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    2 July 1999

    UN Announces Winners of First Vienna Civil Society Award


    VIENNA, 2 July (UN Information Service) -- Four winners of the first ever UN Vienna Civil Society Award, which honours individuals or groups for outstanding work in fighting global crime and drug abuse, were announced today by Pino Arlacchi, Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP).

    The winners, selected by a ten-member international committee from a list of more than 100 nominations worldwide, include the Drug Abuse Prevention Centre of Japan, which has taken major steps to prevent drug abuse in that country as well as in developing nations, and the Fundación Azteca of Mexico, noted for its efforts in drawing together more than 17,000 groups in the country to assist addicts through a telephone help/hot line campaign.

    The other two recipients of the Award were Shanti Ranganathan of India, who founded the TT Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation, one of India's leading institutions fighting drug abuse, and Kasirye Rogers, a Ugandan citizen, who has set up pioneering projects to reduce demand for illicit drugs in his country.

    Mr. Arlacchi made the announcement on behalf of the three entities who jointly created and co-sponsored the Award -- the ODCCP, the host government of Austria and the City of Vienna. "Choosing the winners was not easy," Mr. Arlacchi said. "Many candidates have shown great sacrifice, endurance and courage . . . Common to all was the belief in their mission to create a strong civil society."

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will present the Awards at a Vienna City Hall ceremony on 19 July. The winners will receive an Award Medal and Certificate as well as prize money of $100,000, which will be shared among them.

    The Vienna Civil Society Award marks the first time in its history that the United Nations will honour individuals, institutions and organizations helping it to fight global crime, drug abuse and terrorism as well as foster justice and social progress. The Award was formally established by a special resolution at this year's meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which took place in March.

    On-going work of the Vienna-based ODCCP, together with the new Award, reaffirms the city's role as the UN centre for fighting unlawful and dangerous elements in society. The annual Award pays tribute to Austria's prominent role in promoting UN work, especially in light of the organization's stress on boosting partnerships with all segments of civil societies.

    The Commission's resolution also set up the Award Selection Committee, which consisted of the Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the ODCCP, the Mayor and Governor of Vienna, the Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Chairperson of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and Chairperson of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

    The Selection Committee also included such prominent individuals as Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Africa), Sonia Gandhi (Asia), Prince El Hassan bin Talal (Middle East)), Ted Turner (North America) and Enrique Iglesias (Latin America).

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