UNHCR calls for nominations of 'unsung heroes' for Nansen Refugee Award 2016

Deadline to nominate someone for $100,000 prize donated by governments of Norway and Switzerland for humanitarian project just a week away on 8 February

GENEVA, Feb 1 (UNHCR) - As the world continues to witness record numbers forcibly displaced by war and conflict, there are many unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes to help the millions of people caught up in these global crises.

The UN Refugee Agency is asking for nominations by February 8th for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award, to recognise those courageous people who have contributed directly to the refugee cause - saving lives, providing clean water and food, offering shelter, teaching skills and literacy, or protecting human rights.

Each year UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award honors an individual or group who has gone beyond the call of duty to assist refugees, internally displaced or stateless persons. Recent winners include Sister Angélique Namaika a Congolese Nun providing support for victims of violence by the Lord's Resistance Army and the community group 'Butterflies' from Columbia who work to help displaced survivors of sexual abuse.

Established in 1954, the award is named after Fridtjof Nansen, an intrepid polar explorer and humanitarian who went on to serve as the first High Commissioner for Refugees for the League of Nations. Fridtjof Nansen won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922. The award consists of a commemorative medal and a $100,000 monetary prize donated by the governments of Norway and Switzerland to support a project of the winner's choice to benefit refugees.

Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who has bravely dedicated her life to bringing education to young refugee girls in Pakistan, won the 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award. The first schools funded by her prize are due to open this year, offering many more refugee girls the chance of an education.

Anyone can submit a candidate for the Nansen Refugee Award at www.unhcr.org/nansen. The closing date for nominations is Monday 8 February 2016. The winner will be announced in September 2016.

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About UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award:

UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, internally displaced or stateless people. The award includes a commemorative medal and a US$100,000 monetary prize. In close consultation with UNHCR, the laureate uses the monetary prize to fund a project that complements their existing work.

About UNHCR:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. UNHCR safeguards the rights and well-being of refugees and stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. UNHCR is on the front lines of the world's major humanitarian crises, including Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and countless other emergencies.