The inaugural ceremony of "Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize" was held in the evening of May 28th, the first day of TICAD 4, in the presence of Emperor and Empress.
Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Were, the winners of the award, are great people who have embodied the spirit of Hideyo Noguchi. They are both very modest and friendly. Such a great work performed by husbands and wives, supporting and helping each other in Africa for a period of more than 30 years is very respectable. As a selection committee chairman, I am happy from the bottom of my heart that we are able to present to the world with great pride this excellent selection result.
The head of states and chief of government of more than 40 countries from Africa have participated in this celemony and it was really a refreshing and pleasant reception that reflected the personality of both of them.
Former Prime Minister Mr. Koizumi, as a founder of this award, greeted everyone and said, "It seems that, today the spirit of Dr. Noguchi has come down over all the people in this assembly hall." We came to know afterwards that this was an improvisation and was not in the original draft. It’s a good expression, isn’t it? There really was that sort of an atmosphere in the entire assembly hall.
Next day in the afternoon, Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Were both gave speech at the United Nations University at Aoyama. Ms. Doden of NHK led panel of three (myself and the two) which was also good. After that, they went to visit Inawashiro, the birthplace of Hideyo Noguchi. There was a grand welcome in Inawashiro. Details are written in the Blog of Mr. Kanke, Mayor of Aizu Wakamatsu city (29th May, 30th May). I imagine that they learned something new about Hideyo Noguchi at the actual place of his upbringing. The winners and their family enjoyed the visit, I hear. For a moment, I felt much closer to Africa again.