At the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament, the Council of Europe has created a Raoul Wallenberg Prize in order to keep the memory of Raoul Wallenberg's achievements alive.

Starting in 2014, the Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize, worth € 10 000, will be awarded every two years in order to reward extraordinary humanitarian achievements by a single individual, a group of individuals or an organisation. The award ceremony will take place at the Council of Europe around 17 January – the date of Raoul Wallenberg's arrest in Budapest in 1945.

The Jury consists of seven independent persons with recognised moral standing in the field of human rights and humanitarian action, and appointed by: the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the municipality of Budapest, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Raoul Wallenberg family.

2016 Prize 2016 Prize
Council of Europe Strasbourg 13 January 2016
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Helping refugees in the Mediterranean: Greek association “Agkalia” awarded Raoul Wallenberg Prize

Today, a Greek association Agkalia from the island of Lesvos has received the Council of Europe’s Raoul Wallenberg Prize 2016 Prize for outstanding achievements in providing frontline assistance to thousands of refugees irrespective of their origin and religion.

As Lesvos has become a European gateway for refugees, Agkalia has been providing temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid to people in need, assisting some 17,000 refugees and migrants since May 2015. Through its work to assist refugees, Agkalia also promotes tolerance and human rights.

Founded by Father Efstratios (“Papa-Stratis”), who passed away in September 2015, Agkalia has continued to gain steady support as its devoted associates pursue the Father’s endeavour.

“As a small and flexible local organisation based on volunteers, Agkalia sets a leading example of effective action by European civil society on the burning global issue”, stated Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland during the award ceremony. “Agkalia makes a real difference for the people who reach the island after a dangerous sea crossing. Its activities reflect the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and contribute to its work to promote and protect human rights in Europe and beyond.”

“Only humanism and tolerance can bring better days to Europe in this dark moment,” said representative of the Agkalia association Georgios Tyrikos-Ergas in his speech during the ceremony. “The European people, volunteers from so many nations who responded to our call for help set the example of how this can be achieved – through solidarity. Utopia or not, we have seen it happening in Greece with our own eyes”.

The Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize worth 10,000 Euro was established in 2012 at the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament. The first prize, which is biennial, was awarded in January 2014 to Elmas Arus, Turkish film director of Roma origin.

See also:

Speech by Tyrikos-Ergas George, Efstathiou-Selacha Katerina, Efstathiou-Selacha Eleni - NGO Agkalia
Interview with winners
18 December - International Migrants Day
"In conversation: 'the power of love' - Why Greek activists help refugees", Human Rights Europe

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About Raoul Wallenberg About Raoul Wallenberg

In Budapest in 1944, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg used his status to save tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. His actions show that one person's courage and ability can really make a difference, offering inspiration to us all to speak out and indeed to act against persecution, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution during that period, the State of Israel awarded Wallenberg the title of "Righteous among the Nations". He was also made an honorary citizen of Israel, the United States, Canada and Hungary.

Raoul Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviet forces on 17 January 1945. His fate remains an intriguing mystery. There is still no clear picture of what happen to him after his arrest.