“I am honoured to present the Kemet prize for two great individuals who are internationally recognised academically, diplomatically, and politically,” Mamdouh Abbas, the president of the KBG, said in a speech during its third annual celebration.
The KBG awarded Abi-Saab, 88, for his intellectual excellence in the field of peacemaking and peacekeeping.
Additionally, the KBG awarded Salim Ahmed Salim, 79, with the achievement award in the field of conflict resolution, democracy, and human rights.
Salim's son, Ahmed Salim, received the award on his behalf.
The KBG awards prominent figures for their accomplishments in diplomacy, academia, and law, and also honours the best PhD theses in the fields of General International Law and International Regulation.
The event was attended by a number of ministers and public figures, including Minister of Planning Hala El-Said.
The KBG was founded in 2018 by a group of prominent figures of culture and diplomacy and named after the late Egyptian diplomat and sixth secretary-general of the United Nations Boutros Boutros Ghali.
Abi-Saab is an internationally renowned professor of international law and contemporary international relations and a defender of the Third World in legal studies.
He was a key a member of the Egyptian defence team in the arbitration on Taba with Israel in the 1980s to return the South Sinai town to Egyptian sovereignty.
Moreover, he represented the Palestinian Authority before the International Court of Justice in the dispute with Israel over the infamous separation wall.
Abbas honouring George Abi-Saab
Salim, on the other hand, began his diplomatic career in Cairo, serving as the first Tanzanian ambassador to Egypt at the age of 22 during the tenure of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
He went on to serve as a foreign minister, prime minister, and defence minister for his country.
Salim committed himself to achieve integration in the continent while serving as a secretary-general of the OAU, the predecessor of the African Union, the KBG said.
In a speech during the event, Ahmed Salim said his father’s experience in Egypt was a “teachable moment, one that he would take on for all his postings thereafter.”
“This award is truly an honour for my family, but also for Tanzania, and it is a recognition to the dedication and sacrifices Dr. Salim has made for his country, for Africa, and the international community,” Ahmed Salim added.
Ahmed Salim receives award for his father
Abbas said Salim supported African liberation movements and played a pivotal role in the media in the name of the continent.
During the event, the foundation also honoured graduates of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science of Cairo University, Ghali’s own alma mater.
Abi-Saab said that honouring the new political science graduates and holders of PhDs for their theses in international law and African studies is to him the most valuable part of this event.
He added that young graduates are the “true hope” for the Third World and for humanity, and so, should be well prepared for the future and work hard to define their goals, values, and mission.
Abi-Saab said that Salim Ahmed Salim has been a great advocate for Third World countries’ issues.
“The difference between us is that he worked on the ground while I did my job through my studies and my writings, offering the best advice,” Abi Saab explained.
Abbas said Abi-Saab’s influence on his Arab, African, and international students has been most profound and that his “international stature has been interconnected with Dr. Ghali’s.”
Meanwhile, Planning Minister Hala El-Said praised in her remarks at the event the honouring of Abi-Saab and Salim as an example of the KBG’s valiant efforts to promote Ghali’s set of values.
She hailed the foundation’s efforts in investing in human resources to support national efforts in this regard.
El-Said added that Ghali worked endlessly to pursue people’s right to lead a decent and dignified life; foster cultural diversity; and promote dialogue, diplomacy, and peace.
He was one of the few individuals who had such a high stature not only among Egyptians, Arabs, and Africans, but also on the international stage, El-Said said.
“He is a true embodiment of the concept of an international citizen,” she added.
Minister of Planning Hala El-Said
Ghali, who was a professor of international law and international relations at Cairo University, served as state minister for foreign affairs from 1977 to 1991 before becoming UN secretary-general from 1992 to 1996.
He passed away in 2016 at the age of 93.
Ghali was the grandson of Boutros Ghali, Egypt’s prime minister between 1908 and 1910, and the uncle of Youssef Ghali, a former finance minister.
He received a PhD in international law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris.
He served as president of the Centre of Political and Strategic Studies in 1975 as well as the African Society of Political Studies in 1980.
He was a member of the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union in 1974.
The late Boutros Boutros Ghali