Frequently asked questions on the nomination process

Who can be nominated for the award?

Any individual, group of people, or organization that has displayed extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, displaced, or stateless peoples is eligible to be nominated. Former and current NRC staff or UNHCR staff, including United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) working for UNHCR offices, are ineligible. 

Can I nominate myself, my organization, or a colleague with whom I work?

Self-nominations are strongly discouraged. The following are considered self-nominations:

  • Individuals or organizations nominating themselves;
  • The nomination of a current colleague and/or individual within the same organization; and
  • In some cases, the nomination of an individual or organization coming from a person who has worked for/with the nominee in the past.

What criteria will be considered to determine the winner?

  • Nominees are considered by the Nansen Refugee Award Committee in the following light:
  • The deed for which the person/ entity is nominated should take place outside the framework of normal professional duties and go beyond the call of duty;
  • It should demonstrate courage;
  • It should raise awareness for displaced peoples; and
  • It should reflect the values of UNHCR.

Who selects the winner?

The Nansen Refugee Award Committee comprises:

  • A member designated by the Norwegian Government;
  • A member designated by the Swiss Government;
  • The Secretary General of the Council of Europe;
  • Executive Director of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies;
  • The High Commissioner for Refugees;
  • The Chairperson of Executive Committee; and
  • A guest member, rotated each year.

Is the selection process confidential?
Yes, the selection of the winner is completely confidential.

When is the deadline for nominations?
The nominations process opens in October each year and the deadline is Monday, 6 February.

How do I obtain a nomination form?
Nomination forms are made available via this external link from October each year.

How do I submit a nomination? How can I be sure it has been received?

All nominations must be sent to the Nansen Secretariat at The Nansen Secretariat confirms receipt of each nomination.

Must the nomination be in English?

No. Nomination forms are available for download in either English or French. Nominations are accepted in any of the official languages of the United Nations (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese).

What do I need to provide to supplement my nomination?

Nominations consist of a brief description of the nominee's professional background, a brief description detailing why the nominee should be considered for the award, a list of publications about the nominee, if applicable, and three references. The nomination should contain verifiable information about the nominee's work with or for UNHCR's people of concern (refugees, displaced people, stateless people, asylum seekers, and resettled refugees) and why their work has made a significant impact on their lives and well-being. Additional information supporting the nomination- including websites, news articles, videos, or other awards bestowed on the nominee- is welcome.

How many winners are honored with the Nansen Refugee Award annually?

As a general rule, one recipient is chosen each year. In exceptional circumstances more than one winner has been awarded.