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The Nansen Refugee Award - 2003

The Nansen Refugee Award - 2003

24 June 2003

This year's Nansen Refugee Award winner, Dr Annalena Tonelli, receiving her medal from High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers. © UNHCR/S.Hopper

An important part of each World Refugee Day celebration is the Nansen Refugee Award ceremony which is held on this special day. Formerly known as the Nansen Medal, this almost fifty-year-old prize is named after the Norwegian arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who was appointed in 1921 by the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations, to be the very first High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Award, consisting of a medal and a $100,000 monetary prize, is given out yearly to a person or group who excels in supporting refugee causes. This year's winner was Dr Annalena Tonelli, an Italian humanitarian worker who devoted three decades of her life to helping Somali communities in the remote corners of the Horn of Africa. Recent recipients include Ms. Graça Machel and Maestro Luciano Pavarotti.