Nansen Refugee Award
|UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award|
|Awarded for||Outstanding service to the cause of refugees|
|Presented by||United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees|
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is awarded annually by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to an individual, group, or organization in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, displaced or stateless people. It was established in 1954.
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is named after the intrepid Norwegian polar explorer, statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen. As the first High Commissioner for Refugees at the League of Nations, Nansen's achievements made significant strides in giving a voice to the forcibly displaced. The award consists of the Nansen Medal and a $150,000 US dollar monetary prize donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland in support of a project of the recipient's choice to assist displaced people, developed in consultation with UNHCR. The Swiss and Norwegian governments, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the IKEA Foundation support the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award programme.
The award ceremony
Every year, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is presented at a dignified ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, the "world's humanitarian capital". Held at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, the ceremony coincides with the annual UNHCR Executive Committee (Excom) meeting.
The Nansen panel discussion
In 2011, UNHCR collaborated with the Université of Genève (UNIGE), the Foundation Pour Genève, and the Académie de droit international humanitaire et droits humains à Genève (ADH) to organize the first Nansen panel discussion. Now an annual event, the discussion engages the Geneva intellectual community, media and youth about the refugee cause and the work of UNHCR.
In 2012, the discussion entitled "Les femmes et la reconstruction de la Somalie: du trouble à l'espoir" ("Women and the Reconstruction of Somalia: From Turmoil to Hope") featured Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, secretary-general of the NRC Elisabeth Rasmusson, and UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks as panelists.
The strongest candidates are those who have gone beyond the call of duty, who have demonstrated perseverance and courage, and who have personally, directly and significantly helped forcibly displaced people.
Nominations must be submitted through the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award website. Current or former UNHCR staff are not eligible. Self nominations, including intra-organizational nomination, are strongly discouraged.
List of laureates
- 1954: Eleanor Roosevelt (United States)
- 1955: Queen Juliana (Netherlands)
- 1956: Dorothy D. Houghton (United States) and Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart (posthumously) (Netherlands)
- 1957: The League of Red Cross Societies
- 1958: David Hoggett (United Kingdom) and Pierre Jacobsen (posthumously) (France)
- 1959: Oskar Helmer (Austria)
- 1960: Christopher Chataway, Colin Jones, Trevor Philpott and Timothy Raison (United Kingdom)
- 1961: Olav V (Norway)
- 1962: Tasman Heyes (Australia)
- 1963: The International Council for Voluntary Agencies
- 1964: May Curwen (United Kingdom), François Preziosi (posthumously) (Italy) and Jean Plicque (posthumously) (France)
- 1965: Lucie Chevalley (France), Ana Rosa Schlieper de Martínez Guerrero (posthumously) (Argentina)
- 1966: Jørgen Nørredam (posthumously) (Denmark)
- 1967: Prince Bernhard (Netherlands)
- 1968: Bernard Arcens (Senegal) and Charles H. Jordan (posthumously) (United States)
- 1969: Princess Princep Shah (Nepal)
- 1971: Louise W. Holborn (USA)
- 1972: Svana Friðriksdóttir (Iceland)
- 1974: Helmut Frenz (Chile)
- 1975: James J. Norris (United States)
- 1976: Olav Hodne (Norway) and Marie-Louise Bertschinger (posthumously) (Switzerland)
- 1977: The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (Malaysia)
- 1978: Seretse Khama (Botswana)
- 1979: Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (France)
- 1980: Maryluz Schloeter Paredes (Venezuela)
- 1981: Paul Cullen (general) (Australia)
- 1982: Crown Princess Sonja (Norway)
- 1983: Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (Tanzania)
- 1984: Lewis M. Hiller, Jeff Kass and Gregg Turay (United States)
- 1985: Paulo Evaristo Arns (Brazil)
- 1986: The "people of Canada" (accepted by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé on behalf of Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada)
- 1987: Juan Carlos I (Spain)
- 1988: Syed Munir Husain (Pakistan)
- 1989: Daisaku Ikeda (Japan)
- 1991: Paul Weis (posthumously) (Austria) and Libertina Appolus Amathila (Namibia)
- 1992: Richard von Weizsäcker (Germany)
- 1993: Médecins sans Frontières
- 1995: Graça Machel (Mozambique)
- 1996: Handicap International
- 1997: Joannes Klas (United States)
- 1998: Mustafa Dzhemilev (Ukraine)
- 2000: Jelena Silajdzic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Abune Paulos (Ethiopia), Lao Mong Hay (Cambodia), Miguel Angel Estrella (Argentina) and the United Nations volunteers
- 2001: Luciano Pavarotti (Italy)
- 2002: Arne Rinnan (Norway), the crew of the MV Tampa and Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA (see Tampa affair)
- 2003: Annalena Tonelli, (Italy)
- 2004: Memorial Human Rights Centre (Russia)
- 2005: Marguerite Barankitse (Burundi)
- 2006: Akio Kanai (Japan)
- 2007: Katrine Camilleri (Malta)
- 2008: Chris Clark (Britain) and the Lebanese and international staff in the United Nations mine action programme in southern Lebanon.
- 2009: Edward Kennedy (United States)
- 2010: Alixandra Fazzina (Britain)
- 2011: Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (Yemen)
- 2012: Hawa Aden Mohamed (Somalia) for her work with the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development
- 2013: Angélique Namaika (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- 2014: Butterflies with New Wings Building a Future (Butterflies) (Red Mariposas de Alas Nuevas Construyendo Futuro) - a Colombian women's rights network working to help victims of forced displacement and sexual abuse
- 2015: Aqeela Asifi (Pakistan) - Refugee from Afghanistan who helps girl refugees get education
- 2016: Greek Volunteers of the Hellenic Rescue Team, and Efi Latsoudi of PIKPA Village for their tireless voluntary efforts to aid refugees arriving in Greece during the European refugee crisis.
- 2017: Zannah Mustapha, Nigeria
- 2018: Evan Atar Adaha (South Sudan)
- 2019: Azizbek Ashurov (Kyrgyzstan)
- 2020: Mayerlín Vergara Pérez (Colombia)
- 2021: Jeel Albena Association for Humanitarian Development (JAAHD), a humanitarian organization providing emergency services to internally displaced people in northern Yemen
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- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Our Winners". UNHCR. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
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- "UNHCR - Frequently Asked Questions". unhcr.org. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
- "The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award 2021" (PDF). unhcr.org. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
- "Une ancienne réfugiée somalienne primée par le HCR". unige.ch (in French). University of Geneva. 2012.
- Schlein, Lisa (18 September 2012). "Somali Humanitarian Wins Prestigious Nansen Refugee Award". Voice of America.
- Congolese nun named winner of prestigious Nansen Refugee Award UNHCR 17 September 2013
- "Nansen Refugee Award: Butterflies take wing to help others". unhcr.org. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 12 September 2014.
- "Aqeela Asifi: A life of teaching Afghan refugee girls". BBC. 16 September 2015.
- "The Hellenic Rescue Team". Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Greek Volunteers share UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award
- "Visionary Nigerian teacher wins UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award". unhcr.org. 18 September 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
- "South Sudanese surgeon wins 2018 Nansen Refugee Award". UNHCR. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- "South Sudanese doctor wins prestigious UN prize for lifetime spent tending to refugees". abc.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
- "'Tenacious' Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize". UN News. October 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- Barber, Harriet (1 October 2020). "Woman who provides a safe haven for child trafficking victims is honoured by the UN". The Telegraph.
- "Yemeni humanitarian organization wins Nansen Refugee Award". UN News. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.