Nansen award winner announced

Briefing Notes, 18 September 2007

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 18 September 2007, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR has named as this year's Nansen Refugee Award an advocate for boat people in Malta. Dr. Katrine Camilleri is a 37-year old lawyer with the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The Nansen Award is given annually to an individual or organisation for outstanding work on behalf of refugees. The Nansen Committee, which grants the award, said it had chosen Dr. Camilleri in recognition of her exceptional dedication to the refugee cause.

Since 1997, Dr Camilleri has provided legal advice to hundreds of persons kept in administrative detention centres in Malta. Her efforts have focused on the most vulnerable, including victims of trauma or torture and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. The selection committee praised her tireless efforts to advocate for refugees and her political courage.

With the rise in the number of both refugees and migrants reaching Malta by sea a phenomenon common to other countries around the world irregular migration has become a high profile political issue. In the past year there were attacks on the Jesuits and Dr. Camilleri that are thought to have been staged by opponents of their work with refugees.

The Nansen Refugee Award consists of a commemorative medal and a $100,000 monetary prize donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland to support a refugee project of the laureate's choice. The award will be presented to Dr. Camilleri on Monday, 1 October 2007, by High Commissioner António Guterres.

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The Nansen Refugee Award

The Nansen Refugee Award

Given to individuals or organizations for outstanding service in the cause of refugees.

Nansen Biography

Fridtjof Nansen was a scientist, polar explorer, diplomat, statesman and humanist, with a deep compassion for his fellow human beings. In 1921 Nansen was appointed the League of Nations' first High Commissioner for Refugees and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year in recognition of his work for refugees. UNHCR established the Nansen Refugee Award in his honour in 1954.

Nansen Biography

Nansen Award presentation for the late Senator Edward Kennedy

UNHCR's annual Nansen Refugee Award was posthumously awarded to Senator Edward Kennedy at a ceremony in Washington DC on October 29 for his life-long commitment to refugee rights. Kennedy's wife, Victoria, accepted the award on behalf of her late husband. In presenting the award, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, praised the "vision and commitment" of Senator Kennedy in his support for the displaced.

The prize money of US$100,000 will be donated to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, where it will be used to train the next generation of leaders dedicated to the cause of refugee advocacy. The Nansen Award is given to an individual or organization for outstanding work on behalf of refugees. It was created in 1954 in honour of Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian polar explorer, scientist and the first global High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nansen Award presentation for the late Senator Edward Kennedy

2012 Nansen artists line-up

Singer, songwriter, campaigner, activist, and UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lennox, OBE will perform at this year's United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award being held in Geneva on October 1st and broadcast internationally.

The line-up, which also includes classical singer and UNHCR Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks, Swiss star Bastian Baker and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee, will pay tribute to this year's Nansen Refugee Award laureate.

TV presenter Isabelle Kumar will be the Master of Ceremonies on 1st October. The winner of this year's Nansen Refugee Award will be announced in advance of the award ceremony at 10:30 am on September 18 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

2012 Nansen artists line-up

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