Briefing Paper: The UNESCO-Obiang Prize, Corruption, and Abuse in Equatorial Guinea

Creating a UNESCO prize to recognize scientists for "improving the quality of human life" that is named for and funded by President Obiang discredits UNESCO and bolsters the reputation of a corrupt dictator.

This briefing paper provides background on the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which was established in 2008 when the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted $3 million from President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea to endow an award in his name.

As this paper explains, President Obiang’s record of serious human rights violations and corruption is antithetical to UNESCO’s mission and values, and inconsistent with the objective of the prize itself.