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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Heaney praises Mandela for award
Nelson Mandela
Art for Amnesty said Nelson Mandela was a symbol of hope
Nelson Mandela is to receive a human rights award which was first inspired by a Seamus Heaney poem.

Heaney, whose 'From the Republic of Conscience' was the inspiration for the award, paid tribute to the former South African president.

"To have written a line about 'hope and history' rhyming for Mr Mandela in 1990 is one thing," he said.

"To have the man who made them rhyme accept the award inspired by my poem is something else again."

The Ambassador of Conscience annual award is organised by Dublin-based Art for Amnesty, which brings together artists to support the human rights work of Amnesty International.

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney's poem inspired the human rights award
Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey said: "More than any living person, Nelson Mandela has come to symbolise all that is hopeful and idealistic in public life.

"His poignant example and personal and political leadership since emerging from prison in February 1990 have been a source of inspiration for millions around the world."

Last year's award was given to Irish rock band U2.

Other previous recipients include Ireland's first woman president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.

Human rights honour given to U2
27 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
U2 awarded human rights accolade
10 Dec 05 |  Entertainment
Poetry centre dedicated to Heaney
17 Feb 04 |  Northern Ireland

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