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The Daily Ittefaq

Yunus Centre issues statement on 'Tree of Peace' award

Update : 28 Mar 2024, 21:33

A day after Education Minister's claim that UNESCO did not confer "The Tree of Peace" award to Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Yunus Centre on Thursday (28 March) issued a statement to clarify the matter.

In the statement, Yunus Centre said Professor Muhammad Yunus was invited to the Baku Forum XI in Baku, Azerbaijan as a distinguished speaker from 14 to 16 March.

The Secretary General of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre (NGIC) that organises the Baku Forum, Rovshan Muradov sent an email to Yunus Centre informing that in addition to addressing the Conference, Professor Yunus would receive an award from Unesco on the closing day of the conference, it said. 

The email also mentioned that Professor Yunus would receive an award from Unesco. 

During the closing dinner of Baku Forum, Professor Yunus was specifically reminded to attend the event to receive Tree of Peace award onstage on 16 March. 

The Tree of Peace presented to Professor Yunus is the same sculpture by the same artist as was presented in 2014 to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it added.

On a previous visit to Unesco headquarters on June 2023, Professor Yunus signed a Partnership Agreement between Unesco and Yunus Sports Hub, an international organisation founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus, to drive sustainable development through sport in the context of Unesco's Fit for Life flagship, said the statement.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said by accepting an award given by an Israeli sculptor, Dr Yunus has in effect supported the massacre in Palestine perpetrated by Israel.

Speaking at a programme at the ministry, Mahmud also said it was shameful that the award was falsely publicised as being given by Unesco. 

On 21 March, the official Yunus Centre Facebook page made a post where it claimed that Dr Yunus was bestowed the "Unesco's Tree of Peace" award on the 11th day of the Baku conference in Azerbaijan.

The Unesco's main website, however, does not have a category for Tree of Peace award.

The Yunus Centre post generated a lot of criticism.

On Wednesday (27 March), Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, who is also the Chairman of the Bangladesh Unesco Commission, said the Unesco did not confer "The Tree of Peace" award to Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

He said, "Dr Yunus was conferred the 'Tree of Peace' award by an Israeli sculptor, upon invitation from the Ganjavi Foundation in Azerbaijan." 

The minister said Dr Yunus' claim that he received the award from Unesco is untrue. UNB 

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