On Thursday, 21 July 2011, the winners of the 27th Eisaku Sato Memorial Prize Essay Contest were presented with their awards during a ceremony held at the United Nations University (UNU) headquarters in Tokyo. The award ceremony was formally opened by Mr. Akira Nishigaki, Chairman of the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation and Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, UNU-Vice Rector, and attended by representatives of the Foundation and the UNU community.
The Memorial Prize, first launched in 1980, is an international award that commemorates the achievements of the late former Prime Minister of Japan and Nobel Laureate, Eisaku Sato. It supports Mr. Sato’s vision to promote the development of UNU and contribute to enhancing global peace and prosperity.
The theme of this year’s essay contest was the “contribution of international NGOs to the objectives of the United Nations.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi noted the valuable contribution that NGOs around the globe are making to international development and the goals of the United Nations, particularly through capacity building activities. Prof. Takeuchi thanked the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation for its ongoing and important support for UNU and the University’s mission.
Mr. Kazuki Shimizu, a Nagoya University student, was awarded the First Place “Award of Excellence” for his outstanding essay on NGOs and the UN. Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation Chairman, Mr. Nishigaki, presented him with a cash prize of ¥500,000.
The Second Place “Award of Brilliance” (¥200,000) went to Mr. Yoshiyuki Sagara, a graduate student at Tokyo University. The Third Place “Award of Effort” (¥50,000) was presented to 72-year-old Mr. Shozo Yokoi, represented at the ceremony by his wife.
The Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation was established in November 1975 to fulfill the vision of the late Mr. Sato “to cooperate with the development of the United Nations University and to contribute to the improvement of world peace and welfare”. The Foundation is a public corporation, authorized under the jurisdiction of both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.
Mr. Sato was an avid believer in the role of the United Nations in advancing world peace and human well-being. He was influential in the decision to create UNU and went to considerable effort to assist the University in establishing its headquarters in Japan.
The Eisaku Sato Memorial Prize Essay Contest is funded through the Foundation, with the monetary award Mr. Sato received on winning the 1974 Nobel Prize for Peace. The essay competition is held annually, is open to international participants, and accepts thematic essays written in either Japanese or English.