Awards received by Edward Snowden

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Edward Snowden
In 2014, Snowden joined the board of Freedom of the Press Foundation, which published this photo.

The awards received by Edward Snowden are part of the reactions to global surveillance disclosures made by Edward Snowden. A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero,[1][2][3] a whistleblower,[4][5][6][7] a dissident,[8] a patriot,[9][10][11] and a traitor.[12][13][14][15] He has been honored by publications and organizations based in Europe and the United States.


Edward Snowden was voted as The Guardian's person of the year 2013, garnering four times the number of votes than any other candidate.[16]

The 2013 list of leading Global Thinkers,[17] published annually by Foreign Policy placed Snowden in first place due to the impact of his revelations. FP's "Global Conversation visualization"[18] showed that Snowden "occupied a role in 2013's global news media coverage just slightly less important than President Barack Obama himself."[19]

Snowden headed TechRepublic's Ten Tech Heroes of 2013. Editor Jack Wallen noted that besides raising public awareness of surveillance and government secrecy, Snowden's leaks were significant for technology professionals.[20]

Snowden was named Time′s Person of the Year runner-up in 2013, behind Pope Francis.[21] Time was criticized for not placing him in the top spot.[22][23][24] In 2014, Snowden was named among Time's 100 Most Influential People in the world.[25]

In February 2014, Snowden joined the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation,[26] co-founded by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras also sit on the board.[27]

In July 2014, Freie Universität Berlin announced that Snowden had accepted its offer of honorary membership in recognition of what the university called "his extraordinary achievements in defense of transparency, justice, and freedom." Apart from the honor, there are no rights, privileges or duties involved.[28]

German Whistleblower Prize[edit]

Edward Snowden was awarded the biennial German Whistleblower Prize in August 2013, in absentia, with an accompanying award equal to €3,000. Established in 1999, the award is sponsored by the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and by the Federation of German Scientists.[29] Organizers in Berlin said the prize was to acknowledge his "bold efforts to expose the massive and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies."[30]

Sam Adams Award[edit]

Edward Snowden speaks about various topics at the Sam Adams Award presentation in Moscow.

In October 2013, the Sam Adams Award was presented to Snowden in Moscow by a group of four visiting American former intelligence officers and whistleblowers.[31] After two months as an asylee, Snowden made his first public appearance to accept the award, a candlestick holder meant to symbolize bringing light to dark corners.[32] During their visit, one of the presenters—FBI whistleblower Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project—became Snowden's lawyer.[33] A week later, Radack wrote in The Nation that Snowden exemplified Sam Adams's "courage, persistence and devotion to truth—no matter what the consequences."[34]

Alternative Christmas Message[edit]

Snowden was chosen to give Britain's 2013 "Alternative Christmas Message", Channel 4's non-establishment parallel to the Royal Christmas Message by Queen Elizabeth II. In a short piece filmed by Laura Poitras, Snowden spoke about government surveillance in terms of George Orwell's classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four – arguing that modern surveillance capabilities far surpass those imagined for Big Brother.[35][36][37]

Rector of the University of Glasgow[edit]

In February 2014, Snowden was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, a ceremonial post of student body representative chosen by the students themselves. He won the historic office by a wide margin of votes, even though his nomination, like those of several other past Rectors, was a purely symbolic gesture. He served his three-year term in absentia.[38][39][40]

German Big Brother Award[edit]

At the German Big Brother Awards gala on April 11, 2014, Edward Snowden was honored with the first-ever Julia and Winston Award (positive award), named after the two main rebellious characters in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The award was endowed with one million stickers calling on the German government to grant asylum to Snowden. The award's organizers, Digitalcourage, made the stickers available free online for the public to distribute throughout Germany.[41]

Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize[edit]

In April 2014, Snowden and Laura Poitras were awarded the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize, given by The Nation Institute and The Fertel Foundation for transparency and whistleblowing.[42] Snowden and Poitras each appeared on video at the National Press Club to accept the award.[43] Snowden gave a speech and took questions from the audience, who accorded him several standing ovations.[44] During his speech, he questioned why he had been so swiftly charged with crimes whereas Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was not even reprimanded for his "famous lie" to Congress.[45]

Right Livelihood Award[edit]

In December 2014, Snowden shared a Joint Honorary Award with Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, from the Swedish Right Livelihood Award Foundation.[46]

Carl von Ossietzky Medal[edit]

Snowden appears via video at the International League for Human Rights 2014 awards ceremony

Also in December 2014, Snowden shared the International League for Human Rights annual Carl von Ossietzky medal with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.[47]

IQ Award[edit]

In 2014, Snowden was nominated for the IQ Award by members of the non-profit organization Mensa Germany. Although the official IQ Award commission confirmed his nomination, the managing board of Mensa threatened the commission to subdue Snowden's nomination, and in doing so, they violated the Mensa bylaws.[48] The German Mensa board did this also in reaction to talks with Mensa International. Consequently, it was not possible for Mensa members to vote for Snowden. This caused big controversies among the Mensa members, leading to the effect that opposing Mensa members agreed to all vote in protest for actor Jonny Lee Miller as the most nonsensical nominee, who thus won the election.[49]

Norsk PEN Ossietzky Prize[edit]

In 2016, the Norwegian chapter of PEN International awarded Snowden the Ossietzky Prize given "For outstanding achievements within the field of freedom of expression".[50] Snowden applied to Norway for safe passage to pick up the prize, but the courts said they were unable to legally rule on anything because Snowden was not in the country and they had not received a formal extradition request.[51]


  1. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (November 25, 2013). "Edward Snowden a 'hero' for NSA disclosures, Wikipedia founder says". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero. The New Yorker.
  3. ^ Oliver Stone defends Edward Snowden over NSA revelations. The Guardian. (July 5, 2013).
  4. ^ Editorial Board of The New York Times (January 1, 2014). "Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Mirkinson, Jack (July 8, 2013). "Daniel Ellsberg: Edward Snowden Was Right To Leave The U.S." Huffington Post.
  6. ^ Amash: Snowden a whistle-blower, 'told us what we need to know'. Fox News (August 4, 2013).
  7. ^ "As Edward Snowden Receives Asylum in Russia, Poll Shows Americans Sympathetic to NSA 'Whistle-Blower' – Washington Whispers". August 1, 2013. Archived from the original on August 7, 2013.
  8. ^ "В Госдуме Э.Сноудена назвали новым диссидентом и борцом с системой ("Some in State Duma has called E. Snowden a dissident and fighter against the system")". RBC Daily. July 26, 2013. Head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov, has called Edward Snowden, whistleblower on the US intelligence services, a new dissident fighting the system.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Klein, Ezra. "Edward Snowden, patriot". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Timm, Trevor. "Edward Snowden is a patriot". Politico.
  11. ^ Goodman, Amy. ""Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow". Democracy Now. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  12. ^ LoGiurato, Brett (June 11, 2013). "John Boehner: Edward Snowden Is A 'Traitor'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  13. ^ Etpatko, Larisa. "Former Defense Secretary Gates calls NSA leaker Snowden a 'traitor'". NewsHour. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Dann, Carrie (May 28, 2014). "Kerry: Snowden a "Coward" and "Traitor"". NBC News.
  15. ^ Belvedere, Matthew J. (June 5, 2014). "Snowden a 'traitor': Andreessen". CNBC.
  16. ^ Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year 2013 The Guardian December 9, 2013
  17. ^ "The Leading Global Thinkers of 2013". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  18. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers | The Global Conversation". Foreign Policy.
  19. ^ Rothkopf, David (December 31, 2013). "King Snowden and the Fall of Wikileaks".
  20. ^ Wallen, Jack, 10 tech heroes of 2013, TechRepublic, December 19, 2013 – a tech editor of a professional IT publication states his reason for placing Snowden at the top of his list of Tech Heroes for the year.
  21. ^ Scherer, Michael. (December 11, 2013) Runner-Up: Edward Snowden The Dark Prophet | Time.
  22. ^ And the 'Person of the Year' is...the Pope?. MSNBC.
  23. ^ Time Criticized For Choosing Pope Francis Over Edward Snowden As Person Of The Year. Huffington Post. (December 11, 2013).
  24. ^ Peterson, Andrea (December 11, 2013). "Why Edward Snowden is The Switch's Person of the Year". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  25. ^ Domscheit-Berg, Daniel. (April 23, 2014) Edward Snowden: The renegade in exile | Time.
  26. ^ "About Edward Snowden". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  27. ^ "About Board of Directors". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  28. ^ "Edward Snowden Is Honorary Member of Freie Universität Berlin". Freie Universität Berlin press release. July 2, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  29. ^ Snowden Gets Whistleblower Award in Germany | News. The Moscow Times.
  30. ^ Edward Snowden awarded German 'Whistleblower Prize'. (August 31, 2013).
  31. ^ Amy Goodman "Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow Democracy Now, October 13, 2013
  32. ^ Edward Snowden back in the limelight? Father, US whistleblowers visit Moscow (+video). The Christian Science Monitor. (October 10, 2013).
  33. ^ Brandom, Russell (June 24, 2014). "Edward Snowden's lawyer will keep your secrets". The Verge. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  34. ^ Radack, Jesselyn (October 17, 2013). "My Visit With Edward Snowden". The Nation. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  35. ^ Barnes, Anthony (December 24, 2013). "Edward Snowden warns over global threat to privacy during Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  36. ^ Castle, Stephen (December 25, 2013). "TV Message by Snowden Says Privacy Still Matters". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  37. ^ Walker, Peter (December 24, 2013). "Edward Snowden broadcasts Channel 4's alternative Christmas Day message". The Guardian. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  38. ^ "Edward Snowden elected as rector of Glasgow University". BBC News. February 18, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  39. ^ "Students vote Edward Snowden as University Rector". University of Glasgow.
  40. ^ Campbell, Charlie (February 19, 2014). "Edward Snowden Wins Role at U.K. University". Time UK. TIME. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  41. ^ German Big Brother Awards 2014: Julia and Winston Award (positive award) (English translation)
  42. ^ "The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling". The Ridenhour Prizes. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  43. ^ "Former NSA contractor Snowden expects to remain in Russia". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  44. ^ Greider, William. "Edward Snowden and Laura Poitras Receive the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling". The Nation. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  45. ^ "Snowden: Why hasn't the Director of National Intelligence been punished for lying to Congress?". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  46. ^ MacAskill, Ewen (December 1, 2014). "Edward Snowden wins Swedish human rights award for NSA revelations". The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  47. ^ "Edward Snowden gets human rights award in Berlin". Deutsche Welle. December 14, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  48. ^ "IQ Award Charta" (PDF). Mensa. November 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  49. ^ Werdermann, Felix (January 21, 2015). "Kein IQ-Preis für Edward Snowden (English: No IQ Award for Edward Snowden)". der Freitag (in German). Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  50. ^ "Edward Snowden – Ossietzky of our time". Norsk PEN. March 7, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  51. ^ "No safe passage for Snowden to collect Ossietzky prize, Norwegian court rules". Retrieved November 27, 2016.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Charles Kennedy
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Aamer Anwar