Cuban poet Roberto Fernández Retamar to receive 2019 UNESCO Prize

roberto_fernandez_retamarRoberto Fernández Retamar (Cuba) will be awarded the 2019 International UNESCO/José Martí Prize in recognition of his advocacy work for justice, the rights of children, ethical values, the dignity of each man and woman and the fight against racism.

The Award Ceremony will take place on 28 January in Havana, Cuba, during the Fourth International Conference “For World Balance”.

Roberto Fernández Retamar is a Cuban poet, essayist, literary critic and President of Casa de las Américas*. His life has been dedicated to the study, teaching and dissemination of the works of José Martí, at the University and at the ‘Centro de Estudios Martianos” he founded, through his books and the José Martí Chairs that he helped establish. He was awarded Cuba’s most prestigious literary award, the National Prize for Literature, in 1989.

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, named Fernández Retamar on the recommendation of aninternational jury of experts.

UNESCO created the International UNESCO/José Martí Prize in 1994 at the initiative of the Government of Cuba. The Prize aims to promote equality, solidarity and human rights. It rewards outstanding contributions by organizations and individuals to the cause of Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration based on respect for cultural traditions and humanist values. Laureates receive a diploma and US$5,000.

Previous laureates include: Mexican surgeon Alfonso Herrera Franyutti (2016), Brazilian friar Frei Betto (2013) and Argentinian political scientist Atilio Borón (2009).


* Casa de las Américas is cultural organization founded by the Cuban Government in 1959 to foster socio-cultural relations between the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. It receivedthe UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts in 2017.

Retamar, a tireless scholar of the life and work of the most universal of Cubans, José Martí, among many other topics, received the prestigious award during the 4th International Conference ‘FOR WORLD BALANCE’, held January 28 -31, at the Havana International Conference Centre.

Link to report by UNESCO