ISLAMABAD, Dec 15: Prominent actress, director and activist Madeeha Gauhar became the first Pakistani to get the prestigious Prince Claus Award worth 25,000 euros. The award was given to her by Ambassador of Netherlands Willem Andreae on behalf of the fund at a ceremony held on Friday evening at Islamabad Club. Federal Minister for Culture Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal was also present on the occasion.

The Dutch ambassador said the presentation of the prestigious Prince Claus Award to Madeeha Gauhar was an honour for Ajoka.

“Its members, mostly volunteers, have withstood pressures from the political and religious establishment, and remained committed to the cause of theatre for social change and they share the honour today.”

The award ceremony was followed by a performance by Ajoka theatre.

Madeeha Gauhar is well known for her commitment to theatre for social change. Being a zealot to promote secular, humane, just and egalitarian society, she set up Ajoka theatre in 1984.

The plays of Ajoka address issues related to human rights, especially women rights such as female literacy, honour killings, rights of the girl child, health and family planning.

Together with her husband, Shahid Nadeem, who is a producer, writer and director, Madeeha Gauhar is committed to stimulating the new generation and giving incentive to social and political activists to maintain peace in region.

She has been in the forefront of peace movements between Pakistan and India.

Ajoka is now a renowned name in the world of theatre. It has performed in various countries including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, Iran, Egypt, Hong Kong, the US, UK and Norway.

Founded in 1996 in honour of late Prince Claus, husband of the queen of The Netherlands, Prince Clause Fund is a platform for intercultural exchange and encourages activities and publications that contribute to the positive interaction between culture and development.

Laureates from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are credited with awards for their innovative approach and contribution to stimulate inter-cultural exchange.

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