Frequently Asked Questions
What is the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award?
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is presented every year to an individual or organization that has dedicated their time to help people forcibly displaced from their homes, referred to as the global laureate. Each year since 2017, several regional winners have also been recognized.
The Award is named after the celebrated Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen. Through its recipients, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award aims to showcase Nansen’s values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.
Who was Fridtjof Nansen?
Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as the first High Commissioner for Refugees at the League of Nations. The legacy of his work for the aid and protection of displaced people is still present in the UN system today.
When was the Nansen Refugee Award instituted?
The first Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony took place in 1954, honouring Eleanor Roosevelt as the recipient.
Who can be nominated for the award?
Any individual, group of people or organization that has done extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, displaced or stateless people is eligible – with the exception of former and current UNHCR staff, including United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) working for UNHCR offices, are ineligible.
Can I nominate myself?
Self-nominations are strongly discouraged. This includes individuals and organizations nominating themselves.
What criteria will be considered to determine the Global Laureate?
Nominees are considered 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, compassion and solidarity;
- It should raise awareness for displaced people; and
- It should reflect the values of UNHCR.
Who selects the Global Laureate and Regional Winners?
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Selection Committee chooses the Global Laureate and the Regional Winners. Its voting members are:
- 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;
- and the Chairperson of UNHCR’s Executive Committee.
Is the selection process confidential?
Yes, the selection of the Global Laureate and Regional Winners is completely confidential.
When is the deadline for nominations?
The nomination period for the 2023 edition of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award has now closed. Nominations for 2024 will open in January.
How do I obtain a nomination form?
Nominations can be submitted in English, Spanish, French and Arabic on this page.
How do I submit a nomination? How can I be sure it has been received?
All nominations must be submitted online. Once your submission is received, you will see a confirmation at the end of the form. If your nomination is successful, you will receive an email from the Nansen Team.
Must the nomination be in English?
No. Nominations can be submitted in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
What do I need to provide to supplement my nomination?
Nominations should include a description of the nominee’s work and how they fulfil the selection criteria. This includes details of why the nominee should be considered, evidence that they have positively impacted the lives of forcibly displaced or stateless people, and links to supporting articles and publications. Additional information supporting the nomination – including websites, news articles, social media posts and other awards bestowed on the nominee – is welcome.
Do I need to provide references?
Nominations must include the names and contact details of three references. These referees should represent different perspectives (not from the same organization) and be able to verify specific ways in which the nominee’s work has made a significant impact on the lives of refugees, internally displaced people, stateless people, asylum seekers or resettled refugees.
How many winners does the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honour each year?
Since 2017, we have recognized several regional winners each year in addition to the Global Laureate. In 2022, the regional winners attended the ceremony for the first time.
How is the Global Laureate honoured?
In 2020 and 2021, the Global Laureate was honoured through a virtual ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the Global Laureate and the four Regional Winners were honoured at an in-person ceremony in Geneva that was live-streamed to audiences around the globe. The 2023 ceremony will be held on December 13 at the Global Refugee Forum.
When will the 2023 Global Laureate be announced?
The Global Laureate will be announced on 28 November 2023.
Where and when does the ceremony take place?
The Nansen ceremony is typically held in early October on the first day of the UNHCR Executive Committee’s annual meeting. In 2023, the ceremony will exceptionally take place on December 13, in connection with the second Global Refugee Forum.
Can I attend the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award ceremony?
Unfortunately, the event is not open to the public. However, you can watch a live broadcast of the ceremony on UNHCR’s global social media channels.
Are members of the media allowed to attend the ceremony?
The 2023 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award ceremony is open to all journalists attending the Global Refugee Forum 2023. Please contact [email protected] to register. Kindly note that possible restrictions, including on recording, photography and copyright, may apply. A live feed will be available.
I am working on a feature article/broadcast story. How can I arrange an interview with one of the winners?
Please contact the Nansen Refugee Award Team at [email protected] for further information.
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