Sam Kahamba Kutesa, president of the United Nations General Assembly, briefs on the Nelson Mandela Prize at the UN headquarters in New York, June 22, 2015. The United Nations General Assembly President Sam Kutesa announced here on Monday the winners of the 2015 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize. Helena Ndume of Namibia and Jorge Sampaio of Portugal are the first ever laureates of the Prize. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations General Assembly President Sam Kutesa announced here on Monday the winners of the 2015 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.
Helena Ndume of Namibia and Jorge Sampaio of Portugal are the first ever laureates of the prize, which was established in June 2014 by the UN General Assembly to recognize the achievements of those who dedicate their lives to the service of humanity by promoting the UN purposes and principles.
Ndume, a female ophthalmologist, has been treating blindness and eye-related illnesses in Namibia and throughout the developing world.
Sampaio, the former president of Portugal from 1996 to 2006 and also the former mayor of Lisbon from 1989 to 1995, has been awarded for his contribution to his country.
Kutesa told the press here that the laureates have been selected from about 300 applicants for the prize from a variety of sources, including member states as well as observer states of the UN, institutions of higher education, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs.
The award ceremony will take place on July 24 at UN headquarters, which will be part of the annual commemoration by the General Assembly of Nelson Mandela International Day.
The UN General Assembly set up the "United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize" as a tribute to the late South African leader for his legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation.