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close this bookEmpowering Women and Children (WWSF, 2002)
close this folderWomen's Section
close this folderPrize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentLaureates
View the documentAward Ceremony
View the documentNews from Laureates
View the documentPartnership Fund

Award Ceremony

Geneva Prize Award Ceremony 2001

Honoring 31 Laureates with the
Prize for women's creativity in rural life

at the United Nations

On 15 October 2001 - World Rural Women's Day. The Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF convened for the sixth consecutive year a Geneva Award Ceremony/Panel to award Laureates with the Prize for women's creativity in rural life.

The ceremony took place at the United Nations Office and more than 100 participants honored and listened to six among the 31 winners. The Laureates were:

- Selline Otieno Korir, Kenya: A Crusader for Peace

- Mohinee Maharjan, Nepal: Makes women aware of their legal rights

- Rufina Edith Villa Hernez, Mexico:Fights for women's rights

- Martina Lintner, Italy: Preserves the rural way of life

- Christa Off, Germany: An example of perseverance

- Christine Zollinger, Switzerland: Saves Switzerland's seeds


Laureates' speeches are available upon request.

Six Jury members attended and helped conduct the award ceremony and receptions.

Each Laureate personally presented her work and received a shawl made by SEWA rural women in India, and a cash award of US$ 500 for their creativity and courage in improving the quality of life in rural communities around the world.

Mr. Themba N. Masuku, Geneva FAO Director and Keynote speaker, stressed the importance of recognizing rural women and their contribution to household food security, one of FAO's campaign in the new millennium. Mr. Masuku supports WWSF efforts to find and recognize creative rural women and thus mobilize them around the world to fight for the protection of their traditional knowledge.

Christoph Erard, Swiss musician, who plays more than 300 instruments, created an atmosphere of joy and celebration with many wonderful musical interludes from around the world.

Azania Steady, a most talented young singer, accompanied by Mr. Ferraro, again enchanted all participants and laureates with her beautiful voice and powerful songs in honor of rural women around the world.

Gilles Roch, a Swiss biological farmer and WWSF member, offered fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers for the delight of the participants and the decoration of the hall, thus marking World Rural Women's Day with diversity and abundance.

A Press Conference was convened at the Swiss Press Club where Laureates presented their work to journalists. The Italian Television channel RAI covered the event and aired a program in Italy, Germany and Austria introducing primarily the Italian Laureate, Martine Lintner. Several prizewinners had already been interviewed on TV and Radio prior their arrival in Geneva and many newspapers published the Laureates' work and reminded to mark World Rural Women's Day, which had as its theme "Protect your traditional knowledge".

A special award dinner in honor of the laureates was organized by WWSF at the Hotel Beau-Rivage during which donors could personally meet some of the prizewinners.

Dr. Maria Peza, Prize program coordinator, accompanied the six Laureates throughout their one-week stay in Geneva during which she helped them make useful contacts for their future work. Dr. Peza's devotion to the well being of the prizewinners merits special acknowledgement. Without her dedicated service, the prize program would not be what it is today.

Acknowledgments: WWSF is most grateful for the financial support received from the Republic and Canton of Geneva as well as from the City of Geneva and other donors who contributed towards the award event, the prize program and the annual World Rural Women's Day global awareness campaign. We are honored by their solidarity and generosity. Our sincere thanks also to WWSF staff and volunteers who make the programs possible.