Ivorian intellectual Bernard Binlin Dadié winner of the 2015 UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts

Bernard Binlin Dadié (Côte d’Ivoire) was designated as winner of the 2015 Edition of the Prize by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of an international jury. The Award Ceremony will be organized early in 2016.

Bernard Binlin Dadié, renowned intellectual from Côte d’Ivoire, was selected among a pool of candidates from 20 countries. After careful review of the candidatures, the international jury of the prize unanimously recommended the nomination of Mr Bernard Binlin Dadié as Laureate for the Prize’s 2015 Edition considering that he is a pioneer and giant of African literature. His oeuvre is a classic of Francophone literature and represents an outstanding contribution to the prize’s objectives.

Born in 1916, in Assini, Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Dadié is a prolific  essayist, novelist, playwright, poet, and public figure. In his writing, influenced by his experiences of colonialism as a child, Dadié attempts to connect the messages of traditional African folktales with the contemporary world. His humanism and desire for equality and independence of Africans and their culture are prevalent in his writings.

Mr. Dadié was very active in the movement for independence of his homeland and after Côte d'Ivoire's independence in 1960 he held senior government positions, including the post of Minister of Culture of his country, from 1977 to 1986. Mr. Dadié was intensively engaged in the work of UNESCO and from 1964 to 1972 he was a member and vice-president of the Executive Board of the Organization.  

Awarded every two years, the Prize is intended to reward the efforts of a person, group of people or international institution that has contributed to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities. It is meant to promote pioneering initiatives that may contribute to the development, diffusion and consolidation of the values of humanity.

The Prize was named after Jaime Torres Bodet, eminent poet, novelist, essay writer and diplomat from Mexico and  one of the founding members of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. The Prize, created at the initiative of Dr. José Narro Robles, Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), highlights the close links between UNESCO and UNAM.

The laureate will receive a diploma and a monetary award of 50,000 US$.