NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This year's South-South Awards celebration was held today at the Waldorf Astoria in New York with participation by heads of state, governments, high-level United Nations officials, business leaders and celebrities. More than 700 guests including more than 20 heads of state attended the event, now in its third year, with Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady featured as master of ceremony and stage performance by French music band Les Nubians, African pop diva Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and singer-song writer David Paich.
The theme of the annual event was innovation and technology for sustainable development. The awards seek to highlight the achievements of countries in the Global South, and recognize public and private sector leaders who have contributed significantly to South-South cooperation and sustainable development. Among this year's public sector award recipients were Costa Rica, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Fiji.
In his remarks to the star-studded gathering, Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, president of the International Organization for South-South Cooperation and co-chair of the award committee, underlined the crucial role of information and communications technologies as a tool for development. The awards, he said, "bring not only the bridge between the public and private sectors, but also give us the opportunity to serve as facilitator" in strengthening cooperation in developing countries.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was presented with a humanitarian achievement award. In accepting the prize on behalf of their father, Ms. Zindzi Mandela and Ms. Josina Machel stressed his dedication to wide-ranging cooperation among developing nations. President Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, was also recognized for her humanitarian work advocating for culture, children, and women.
Singer-song writer David Paich, of the pop rock band Toto, received a Lifetime Cultural Achievement Recognition. Mr. Paich, who has collaborated with Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart, Pink, Don Henley and others, also performed some of his most famous songs, including "Africa."
The South-South Awards 2013 is co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN), the South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development (SS-SCSD), the International Organization for South-South Cooperation (IOSSC) and South-South News.