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UNHCR invites journalists, journalist organizations to nominate candidates for the 2013 Nansen Award

Briefing Notes, 13 November 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 13 November 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The nomination phase for the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award has opened. In recognition of the attention that the media brings to refugee issues worldwide, UNHCR is inviting individual members of the press as well as media organizations to nominate candidates. The deadline for nominations is 25 January 2013.

The Nansen Refugee Award was established in 1954 and is named after the first High Commissioner for Refugees, Fridtjof Nansen. It is the refugee world's most prestigious prize, and past winners have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Senator Edward Kennedy, Luciano Pavarotti, and other less well known heroes in recognition of their work and dedication to improving the lives of refugees. Nominations are encouraged for deserving individuals, groups, or organizations whose work has had a direct and positive impact on the lives of refugees, internally displaced, or stateless people.

This year's award went to Hawa Aden Mohamed of Somalia, who has worked tirelessly over several decades to create a safe place for displaced women and girls through community education, peace-building, and development projects.

To nominate a candidate, you need to go to www.unhcr.org/nansen and download the nominations form. Nominations need to include detail of the candidate's work for displaced people and supporting references.

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The Nansen Refugee Award

The Nansen Refugee Award

Given to individuals or organizations for outstanding service in the cause of refugees.

Nansen Biography

Fridtjof Nansen was a scientist, polar explorer, diplomat, statesman and humanist, with a deep compassion for his fellow human beings. In 1921 Nansen was appointed the League of Nations' first High Commissioner for Refugees and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year in recognition of his work for refugees. UNHCR established the Nansen Refugee Award in his honour in 1954.

Nansen Biography

Nansen Award presentation for the late Senator Edward Kennedy

UNHCR's annual Nansen Refugee Award was posthumously awarded to Senator Edward Kennedy at a ceremony in Washington DC on October 29 for his life-long commitment to refugee rights. Kennedy's wife, Victoria, accepted the award on behalf of her late husband. In presenting the award, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, praised the "vision and commitment" of Senator Kennedy in his support for the displaced.

The prize money of US$100,000 will be donated to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, where it will be used to train the next generation of leaders dedicated to the cause of refugee advocacy. The Nansen Award is given to an individual or organization for outstanding work on behalf of refugees. It was created in 1954 in honour of Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian polar explorer, scientist and the first global High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nansen Award presentation for the late Senator Edward Kennedy

2012 Nansen artists line-up

Singer, songwriter, campaigner, activist, and UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lennox, OBE will perform at this year's United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award being held in Geneva on October 1st and broadcast internationally.

The line-up, which also includes classical singer and UNHCR Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks, Swiss star Bastian Baker and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee, will pay tribute to this year's Nansen Refugee Award laureate.

TV presenter Isabelle Kumar will be the Master of Ceremonies on 1st October. The winner of this year's Nansen Refugee Award will be announced in advance of the award ceremony at 10:30 am on September 18 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

2012 Nansen artists line-up

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