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© UNHCR/Will Swanson

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award celebrates heroes supporting refugees, internally displaced and stateless people.


The Award 

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is presented every year to an individual or organization who has dedicated their time going above and beyond the call of duty to help people forcibly displaced from their homes.

The Award is named after Fridtjof Nansen, courageous Norwegian explorer and humanitarian who served as the first High Commissioner for Refugees for the League of Nations.

Through its recipients, the Nansen Refugee Award aims to showcase Nansen’s values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.

2018 Winner

Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, surgeon and medical director at a hospital in Bunj, north-eastern South Sudan, is the 2018 winner of UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award. The award is in recognition of Dr. Atar’s for his outstanding 20-year commitment in providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict.

Dr. Atar treats all those in need of care regardless of their background - a commitment that has earned him the respect of refugee and local people alike His work shows the difference that one person can make, even when facing incredible odds.

2018 Regional Finalists

UNHCR has announced four finalists for the Nansen Refugee Award. These are individuals or organisations short-listed out of more than 450 nominees for the main award and whose work UNHCR wanted to highlight as particularly outstanding.

They are:

Samira Harnish (USA) for setting up ‘Women of the World in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her organisation has helped over 1,000 refugee women become self-reliant in the US.

Mayor Andreas Hollstein and the volunteers of Altena, Germany for tireless work in welcoming refugees to their small town – taking in more than their official quota.

Tuenjai Deetes for devoting four decades of her life to ending statelessness in Thailand

Reclaim Childhood from Jordan for 500 empowering refugee girls through sport and building better links with their local communities.