Search begins for 2009 Nansen Refugee Award nominees

News Stories, 26 February 2009

© UNHCR/S.Hopper
The Award consists of a commemorative medal and a monetary prize of US$100,000.

GENEVA, February 26 (UNHCR) The annual search for nominees for UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award has begun, with High Commissioner António Guterres on Thursday asking the agency's staff to identify candidates for the honour that has been given for service to refugees ever year since 1954.

"Candidates for the Nansen Refugee Award should be inspiring individuals, groups or organizations involved in work supporting the cause of refugees, contributing to their well-being, improving the conditions for people of our concern," said Guterres.

Last year the Nansen Selection Committee chose Chris Clark, coordinator of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre-South Lebanon (UNMACC-SL), and his staff of nearly 1,000 international and Lebanese civilians for clearing cluster bombs an outstanding contribution to the security of internally displaced people and returnees in Lebanon, as well as humanitarian workers.

The High Commissioner, who chairs the selection committee, said the extent of the work and number of beneficiaries was less important than the "ingenuity, originality and dedication" in ensuring success. Nominations must be received by April 24 and people from outside UNHCR can also put forward candidates.

"This work might include activities such as: protecting the vulnerable refugees; funding, designing, or implementing a project; advocacy; or working on specific policies for facilitating the voluntary return, local integration or resettlement of refugees. Actions taken to prevent refugee-producing situations will also be considered," Guterres said.

Self-nominations and nominations of current or former UNHCR staff members are not encouraged.

The Nansen award, given annually since 1954 to individuals or organizations, is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the first League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Award consists of a commemorative medal and a monetary prize of US$100,000, donated by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland. The prize money is used to fund projects for refugees selected by the winner in consultation with UNHCR.

Previous recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, Médecins Sans Frontières, the people of Canada, Graça Machel, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Annalena Tonelli and Margarite Barankitse.

Nominations and requests for information should be addressed to the Nansen Committee Secretariat, fax: (+41) 022 739 7367, email: Nansen Award

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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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