The 2022 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award ceremony featured an acceptance speech by Dr. Angela Merkel, appearances by the Regional Winners, performances by refugee artists, and more. You can watch the full recording here:
Master of Ceremonies: Nelufar Hedayat
Nelufar Hedayat is an award-winning journalist and presenter whose work focuses on environmental issues and cultural upheaval. Born in Afghanistan, she came to Britain as a refugee, an experience that has informed her reporting and instilled a passion for telling the stories of fringe and marginalized communities.
Working across British and American broadcasters in written and TV media, she has created self-authored series and documentaries and moderated talk-shows and other events for news outlets such as Nat Geo, Doha Debates, Vice, Fusion, The Guardian and the BBC. Her work has received numerous awards, and her reporting and interviews are often referred to empathetic, pioneering and insightful.
Keynote speaker: Barbara Hendricks
Born in USA, dual Swiss /Swedish citizenship, she received BM, Juilliard and BS (Mathematics Chemistry) at age 20, University of Nebraska. Since her debut in 1974, she became one of the world's most loved and admired opera, recital, and jazz musicians, recording 100 albums and selling more than 14 million. Appointed in 1987, Barbara is UNHCR's longest serving Goodwill Ambassador. Named Honorary Lifetime GWA in 2002, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to refugees, she has supported UNHCR's work at the diplomatic and governmental level. Her impassioned plea for the refugee cause to the European Parliament on the 60th anniversary of The Treaty of Rome, received a standing ovation. Active in UNHCR's campaign to end statelessness, Barbara spoke at the 2015 ECOWAS Conference in Côte D'Ivoire that resulted in The Abidjan Declaration. In 2009, she was founding president of UNHCR's national fundraising partner, Sweden for UNHCR, and is active as President Emeritus.
Musical performance: Tusse
Tousin "Tusse" Chiza is a musician and singer who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He fled to neighbouring Uganda at age five together with his aunt. After three years in a refugee camp there, he was resettled to Sweden.
In 2021, Tusse represented Sweden at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the powerful song "Voices". He openly shares his experience in overcoming challenges of settling in and adapting to new situations, helping to empower young people facing similar difficulties. He has been a Goodwill Ambassador for Sweden for UNHCR since 2021.
Musical performance: Manal Samaan
Manal Samaan is a solo vocalist and Syrian refugee living in Switzerland. She was still a student at Syria's leading musical institute, the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, when she began the first of many collaborations with the celebrated Lebanese composer Ziad Rahbani. Upon graduating in 2008, she set out to use her voice and her artistic message to benefit her community – but less than three years later, her homeland erupted in conflict.
Since finding refuge in Switzerland, Samaan has continued to develop her expansive repertoire, which includes Byzantine hymns and Armenian love songs as well as classic ballads by Rahbani's mother, the iconic Fairuz. Samaan has toured and performed across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in Europe and Australia. Performing with her are Elie Maalouf (piano and arrangement), Frédéric Folmer (acoustic bass) and Youssef Hbeisch (percussion).