UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency - Nansen Refugee Award
© UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

Established in 1954, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honours individuals, groups and organizations who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect refugees, as well as internally displaced and stateless people.


We are delighted to announce that the 2022 Global Laureate is Dr. Angela Merkel, the Former Federal Chancellor of Germany.

Under Dr. Merkel’s leadership, Germany welcomed more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, at the height of the conflict in Syria and amid deadly violence in other places. “It was a situation which put our European values to the test as seldom before,” she said at the time. “It was no more and no less than a moral imperative.”

Dr. Merkel called on her fellow Germans to reject divisive nationalism and urged them instead to be “self-assured and free, compassionate and open-minded”.

The selection committee said it was recognizing Dr. Merkel’s “leadership, courage and compassion in ensuring the protection of hundreds of thousands of desperate people”, as well as her efforts to find “viable long-term solutions” for those seeking safety.

Dr. Angela Merkel will be accepting the award at a live event airing on UNHCR’s YouTube channel on 10 October (19:30 CEST). Be sure to tune in for this extraordinary event!


Read more about this year's selection

Meet the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award's 2022 Regional Winners

We are honoured to announce the 2022 Regional Winners of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award, selected from hundreds of nominees for their outstanding work with refugees, internally displaced and stateless people.

Africa Regional Winner: Mbera Fire Brigade

Founded by refugees, this all-volunteer firefighting group in Mauritania has extinguished more than 100 bushfires and planted thousands of trees to preserve lives, livelihoods and the local environment.

Read about their amazing work


Americas Regional Winner: Vicenta González

Doña Vicenta, a former midwife, has provided nearly 50 years of service to displaced and other vulnerable people in Costa Rica. Along the way, she established a cacao cooperative to support refugees and host-community women, including survivors of domestic violence.

Read her inspirational story


Asia Regional Winner: Meikswe Myanmar

This humanitarian organization assists communities in need, including internally displaced people, with emergency items, health care, education, and livelihoods opportunities – while striving to build the capacity of local organizations.

Read about their incredible story


Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Winner: Dr. Nagham Hasan

This Iraqi gynaecologist provides medical and psychosocial care to girls and women who survived persecution, enslavement and gender-based violence at the hands of extremist groups in northern Iraq.

Read about her lifesaving work