Previous laureates of the North-South Prize
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh
Founder and CEO of the Non-Governmental organisation “Safe Hands for Girls”
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh is the founder and CEO of Safe Hands for Girls, an NGO that works in the Gambia, Sierra Leone and the USA. Since 2013, Safe Hands for Girls has advocated for an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM), and works at grassroots level to change attitudes, mobilize opposition to both practices and provide support to the victims.
The work Jaha led with Safe Hands for Girls was instrumental in convincing President Obama’s administration to investigate the prevalence and profile of FGM in the USA, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM at the United States Institute of Peace. Safe Hands for Girls’ advocacy was also a key contributing factor in the Gambian government’s decision to outlaw FGM in 2016.
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh was appointed UN Women Ambassador for Africa in February 2018. In this role, Jaha supports UN Women’s advocacy to end FGM and child marriage in Africa, with a focus on mobilizing youth.
Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh is particularly known for her work with religious leaders, having earned respect through her informed and courageous advocacy, based on the premise that FGM has no basis in any of the major religions.
Former mayor of Grande-Synthe (France)
Damien Carême is a French politician. He was the Mayor of Grande-Synthe, in the outskirts of Dunkirk (France) from 2001 until 2019. During his mandates, he implemented social ecology namely through the introduction of 100% organic and local meals in canteens, communal gardens, free public transport, social minimum income for inhabitants below the poverty line. In 2010, Grande-Synthe was elected “capital of biodiversity” and received the "Fleur d'Or", "Ville Zéro Phyto", and the "Citizen Energy” awards.
Mr. Carême also is known as the “mayor of migrants”. In 2015, he led the construction of a humanitarian camp which provides shelter for thousands of migrants whose freedom of movement was suspended at the French-UK border. The camp, built without any financial support from the State and in compliance with the norms of the United Nations, has the capacity to accommodate 2,500 people.
In 2016, he was a finalist of the "Best Mayor of the World" competition, an honorary title awarded by the City Mayors Foundation (France). He was also President of the “French cities and suburbs mayors association” between 2014 and 2015.
Dr Abbas Gullet
Dr. Abbas Gullet is the Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Boma Groups of hotels in Nairobi, Eldoret and Nyeri which are fully owned by the Kenya Red Cross Society. Under his leadership, the Kenya Red Cross Society also founded the Emergency Medical Services (E PLUS) which has over 100 Ambulances - the largest fleet of Critical Care Ambulances in Kenya and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Dr. Gullet also helped established the NEPARC (New Partnership of African Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies) in Johannesburg - South Africa, a partnership aimed at African National Societies taking responsibility for their own developments.
Of all the organisations that make up East Africa’s most recognisable and respected names, called the Superbrands, the Kenya Red Cross is the only non-commercial entity, and it has received this recognition 3 years in a row. It is today a symbol of hope in the direst situations, a comforting hand in times of disaster and the steadfast guiding light in moments of panic and confusion.
Dr. Gullet defied skeptics to rebuild a strong Kenyan National Society. He continues to lobby the government and has won tremendous support as a result. Dr. Gullet is involved in rigorous fundraising to improve the Society’s financial base and brings a business approach to his work. Kenya Red Cross Society has set its sights on being self-sustaining and able to foot its core.
The Kenya Red Cross also prides itself in having a large local logistics capacity. Around the world, the Kenya Red Cross Society is recognised as one of the best performing National Red Cross societies, but it is in Africa where it is a living example of what other Societies can do.
The lesson Dr. Gullet takes away from his work is how weak and vulnerable human beings are, and the fact that they should strive to co-exist and tolerate one another. Dr. Gullet’s dream for the continent is still alive and its realisation on course. Cooperation and coordination of relief work in the Region now brings efficiency and speed to disaster response and programme implementation.
Recognized as the UN Person of the Year in Kenya in October 2007.
Awarded an honorary award of Order of the Golden Warrior by the Kenyan Government in December 2007.
Awarded the Utetezi Award (Civil Society) in recognition of his remarkable contribution in humanitarian activities, in June 2009.
Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Egerton University in May 2012 for his contribution to Humanitarian Work.
Awarded an honorary award of Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) by the Kenyan Government in December 2012.
Listed as one of the Top 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICANS in the Forbes Africa Magazine 2011.
Listed as one of the Top 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICANS in the “African Magazine” December 2013 Edition.
Elected Vice President for Africa of the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent in November 2013.
Awarded Brand Kenya Ambassador Awards 2013 in recognition of his selfless and excellent humanitarian service in November 2013.
Honored with Honorary Award, Doctor of Humane Letters by Kenyatta University in December 2015, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in transforming the lives of thousands of Kenyans.
Appointed the first chancellor of Umma University Kajiado Campus in January 2016.
Ms Kristiina Kumpula
Currently Secretary General of the Finnish Red Cross, Ms Kristina Kumpula studied administration and economics at the University of Tampere.
After her studies, in 1987, she started her career as Secretary for International Education at the International organisation where she has held several positions in the field of Human Rights. In 1998, she was part of a fact finding team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights in Uganda.
Ms Kumpula has admirably led the Finnish Red Cross domestically, addressing social, health, and migration programming in Finland, among other key activities, and internationally as a strong supporter of sister National Societies around the world, particularly in East Africa.
Ms Kumpula has also been active working with the international components of the Movement, and is currently serving as Chair of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Constitutional Review Advisory Group.
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Ms Giuseppina Nicolini
Maria Giuseppina Nicolini, mayor of the Italian municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa, has been awarded for her commitment to the reception of migrants and to the defence of refugees’ rights, by welcoming and sheltering them and by through lobbying the Italian and the EU authorities to provide appropriate support and assistance.
She was elected mayor of her home town in 2012, just before the definitive major outbreak of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. During her administration, the island has become one of the most efficient migrant ports in Europe. Therefore, the UNHCR refers to a the ‘Lampedusa model’ and Ms. Nicolini has been praised by human rights organisations, and even by the Pope himself, for her humanitarian approach.
Ms Mbarka Brahmi
Tunisian Member of Parliament, Ms. Brahmi is the founder of the ‘Centre Brahmi pour la paix et la solidarité’. She has been awarded for her direct engagement in the Tunisian democratic process and herin the fight for social justice. and in the Tunisian democratic process.
Ms. Brahmi started her political activity in the 80’s, during the university years in Tunis, where she was studying law and political science. She joined the opposition movement ‘Étudiants Arabes Unionistes Progressistes’, banned by the regime.
After years of commitment to women’s rights and following the outbreak of the Arab Spring, she became honorary President of the ‘Courant Populaire’ Party. In 2014, she was elected Member of the Tunisian Parliament and one year later, she took up the Presidency of the Health and Social Affairs Committee.
Ms Lora Pappa is the founder of METAdrasi, Action for Migration and Development. Through the creation of METAdrasi, Ms. Pappa aimed to address long standing gaps in the area of refugee protection and migration management in Greece. METAdrasi’s main focus has been primarily community interpretation and the care for unaccompanied minors. METAdrasi and Ms Pappa personally, have always based their work on the highest standards of professionalism and ethics, developing specialist training methods, recruiting dedicated and committed staff, bringing pioneering methods and approaches benefitting refugees and vulnerable groups in multiple ways, offering the chance to hundreds of volunteers also to participate in addressing the humanitarian needs of the refugees, particularly during the recent crisis, and always striving to offer the best possible contribution and input to areas not previously covered by others and until these services can best be offered institutionally by the State.
Joaquim Alberto Chissano is the founding member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and played a fundamental role in the 1974 negotiations on the independence of Mozambique, between FRELIMO and the Portuguese Government.
He led positive socio-economic reforms, culminating with the adoption of the 1990 constitution that led Mozambique to the multi-party system and to an open market. Chissano also led successful negotiations with former rebels, ending 16 years of a destabilizing war in 1992. In 1994, he won the first multiparty elections in the history of his country, and was re-elected in 1999. Currently, he is the Chairperson of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation that aims at peace promotion, social and economic development and culture and of the Africa Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government. He has received the highest awards from many countries and has received several prizes, including the Chatham House in 2006 and the inaugural Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in 2007.
Sister Doctor Maura Lynch is a surgeon and obstetrician of the Medical Missionaries of Mary. She has worked tirelessly her entire life to promoting and protecting the fundamental human rights of the poorest and most deprived people in society, in particular young women. After 20 years in Angola and more than 20 in Uganda, now aged 78 and despite the loss of one eye, Dr Maura Lynch continues to perform life-changing surgeries to treat obstetric fistula, at the clinic she helped found at Kitovu hospital in South West Uganda. Today, she keeps working with determination for those Ugandan women fighting for their right to access healthcare, for their dignity, for their life.
André Azoulay has been a senior adviser to His Majesty the King of Morocco since 1991. In parallel to a brilliant career in economics, Mr Azoulay devoted himself to the promotion of dialogue between cultures, populations, women and men from both banks of the Mediterranean. He is known for his highly active contribution to the peace process in the Middle East promoting reconciliation between Jews and Muslims. Moreover, he has been President of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures since 2008.
Suzanne Jabbour is a Lebanese doctor with a relevant action in promoting human rights and the fight against torture within prisons and detention centers in countries of the Middle East as well as Africa and Latin America. Suzanne Jabbour currently holds the position of Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Council for the rehabilitation of victims of Torture. She is also vice-president of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture of the United Nations functions that she accumulates with the position of director of the NGO “Restart" - Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture.
His Highness the Aga Khan is globally recognized for his philanthropic work, as well as initiatives for peace and the promotion of development projects. Relevant part of this action is carried out by the Aga Khan Development Network, which is composed of institutions that aim to improve the living conditions of populations in the most deprived regions in the perspective of sustainable development, with particular focus in the areas of health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development.
Monika Hauser is a gynaecologist and the director of the women’s aid association medica mondiale. In 1992, in the middle of the Bosnian war, she opened a therapy centre in the city of Zenica for victims of rape and war trauma. Now more than 80 Bosnian women doctors, nurses, therapists, and other professionals work there. She also founded projects for victims of "sexualised violence" in Kosovo, Albania, and Afghanistan. The organisation medica mondiale has taken on the mission of combating sexualised wartime violence and other forms of gender-specific violence against women and girls on all levels. Medical, psychosocial, legal and economic assistance is provided for affected women. In addition, medica mondiale carries out public awareness and human rights work in its project countries, Germany and internationally in order to bring about societal and political changes in favour of women. Hauser and her colleagues have helped over 70,000 traumatised women and girls in war and post-war crisis zones in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, DR Congo, Liberia and Afghanistan.
Asma Jilani Jahangir is a leading Pakistani lawyer, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and human rights activist, who works both in Pakistan and internationally to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, women, and exploitation of children. She was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief from August 2004 to July 2010. Previously, she served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. She is also chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Asma Jahangir has spent her career defending the human and women rights, rights of religious minorities and children in Pakistan. She also was and remains a staunch critic of the Hudood Ordinance and blasphemy laws of Pakistan.
Souhayr Belhassen (Tunisia), President of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), in recognition of her long-time commitment in favour of human rights in the world, as well as for her fight for the rights of women in developing countries. Her path is both an example and symbol of the major role played by the women in the historic changes which have taken place in 2011 in the Arabic world.
Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia, in recognition of his political action for the reconciliation of the Balkans and the integration of his country in the process of European construction. His support for international justice has been a determining factor in the arrest and transfer to The Hague, of the last two criminals sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 2011 (Ratko Mladic et Goran Hadzic)
Louise Arbour was born on 10 February 1947 in Montreal, Quebec. Ms. Arbour, a Canadian national, began her academic career in 1974. In 1995, Ms. Arbour was appointed Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. In 1996, she was appointed by the Security Council of the United Nations as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. In 1999, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.Ms. Arbour has received honorary doctorates from some thirty Universities and numerous medals and awards and is a member of many distinguished professional societies and organisations. Louise Arbour has served as President & CEO of the International Crisis Group since July 2009. Previously she acted as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004 to 2008.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (born 27 October 1945), known commonly as Lula, was the 35th President of Brazil, elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 for a second term that ended on 1 January 2011. He started his political activism at 19 by getting involved in union activities and, after a very committed participation in labour movements, in 1980, together with a group of academics, intellectuals and union leaders, founded the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) or Workers’ Party. During his mandate as President, Brazil’s foreign policy became renowned for fostering “South-South” relations, the fight against poverty and the promotion of economic development and social equality around the globe.
Rula Dashti is a leading activist in Kuwait and throughout the region advocating democratic reform, fighting for gender equality and increasing roles for women in public life. She has been involved in several volunteering activities since her undergraduate years, where she worked with the International Red Cross in Lebanon to assist refugee families from the south in 1982. She has also been involved in various activities for the economic empowerment of women in the Republic of Yemen. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, she and three other women won seats to become the first women to enter the Kuwaiti parliament.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian politician. He was the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, serving from 1985 until 1991, and also the last Head of State of the USSR, serving from 1988 until its collapse in 1991. Gorbachev's attempts at reform contributed to the end of the Cold War. In 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community".
Her Majesty Queen Rania channels her energies into initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood of Jordanians. As First Lady, Queen Rania's activities encompass issues of national concern, such as the environment, youth, human rights, women empowerment, among others.
Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal and High Representative of United Nations for the Alliance of Civilizations, has always been deeply involved in the pursuit of Peace throughout the world.
Simone Veil is a French lawyer and politician who served as a member of the Constitutional Council of France and as a Minister of Health and of Social Affairs. She was President of the European Parliament and is presented as a defender of European values. One of her hardest political fights was the legalization of abortion (1975). During her political career, she always fought against extremism and terrorism. She was chairman of the “Haut conseil à l’intégration” and continued to be member of several migrants and refugees national associations. She has received several titles and awards (as the Prince of Asturias Award in International Cooperation). From her personal experience of deportation, she committed herself to the defense and memory of the victims of the holocaust and around the world. She is founder and was President of the “Fondation pour la mémoire da la Shoah”.
As the 7th Secretary General of the UN, Koffi Annan’s priorities have been notably to revitalize and strengthen the UN in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security; to encourage and advocate human rights, the rule of law and the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity. He has used his good offices in several delicate political situations.
In April 2000, he issued the Millennium Report, entitled "We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century" forming the basis of the Millennium Declaration. The Secretary General and the United Nations both received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.
In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was condemned by a village assembly to be gang raped. Unlike other women who have suffered similar fates, Mukhtar Mai survived, brought the case before Pakistan’s official courts and succeeded in winning her case. With the compensation awarded to her, she set up a school in her village and founded an organisation for the defence of women’s rights.
Father Francisco Van Der Hoff describes himself as "a small producer from Mexico" and is a committed defender of fair trade. Since 1980, he has worked with indigenous coffee-producing communities. He founded the Max Havelaar fair trade association and a self-sufficient Mexican organisation, UCIRI, which aims to foster commerce mechanisms which do not rely on intermediaries
Bogaletch Gebre founded, in 1997, the Kembatta Women’s Self-Help Center (KMG), an Ethiopian nonprofit organisation whose mission is to educate and empower people to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable development. The work of KMG focuses primarily on women and youth, and the main areas of activity are health, livelihood, environment, social systems, human rights, gender and democracy. Gebre’s work has been recognised and replicated nationally, particularly in the areas of prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, female genital excision and bride abduction. At the international level, Bogaletch Gebre has received several prizes and has been nominated for the 1000-2005, Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.
Bob Geldof, former lead-singer and songwriter of “The Boomtown Rats”, created Band Aid in 1984, a grouping together of many musicians to record a song for the victims of famine in Africa. In 1985 he organised the Live Aid concert and Sports Aid in 1986, and established the Band Aid Trust to administer the $150,000,000 raised. Nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, Geldof organised in July 2005 a series of concerts called Live 8, which took place in the G8 nations and South Africa, before the G8 summit. Supporter of Jubilee 2000 (the worldwide movement to cancel Third World debt), Bob Geldof was involved in setting up DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), a lobby group focused on generating more resources and better policy for African countries. He is also involved in the Make Poverty History campaign, which is a coalition calling for trade justice, debt cancellation and more and better aid in 2005. As a producer, he has recently filmed a 6 part series on Africa for BBC1, and has received numerous awards for TV works, including a Bafta, Royal Television Society and Peabody.
Nawal El Saadawi is a novelist, a psychiatrist, and a writer who is well known both in the Arab countries and in many other parts of the world. As a result of her literary and scientific writings she has had to face numerous difficulties and even dangers in her life. In 1972 she lost her job in the Egyptian government. The magazine, Health, which she had founded and edited for more than three years, was closed down. In 1981 President Sadat put her in prison. She was released one month after his assassination. From 1988 to 1993 her name figured on death lists issued by some fanatical terrorist organizations. She lived in exile for five years. In 2001 she won her case in Cairo court against forceful divorce from her husband (according to Hisba law). In 2004 Al Azhar in Cairo banned her novel, The Fall of the Imam. On June 15, 1991, the government issued a decree that closed down the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, over which she presides, and handed over its funds to the association called Women in Islam. Six months before this decree, the government closed down the magazine Noon, published by the Arab Women's Solidarity Association. She was editor-in-chief of this magazine. Nawal El Saadawi has been awarded several national and international literary prizes, and has lectured in many universities and participated in many international and national conferences. Her works have been translated into many languages all over the world, and some of them are taught in a number of universities and colleges in different countries.
Ambassador Stéphane Hessel was born in Berlin in 1917, though he took French nationality before the war. He served with General De Gaulle during the war and even spent time in the camps. In 1946 Hessel joined the recently formed UN, where he occupied a number of positions (1970-72 / 1977-81). From 1990 to 1993, he represented France on the United Nations Human Rights Commission and headed the French delegation to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. He was a member of the Cabinet of Pierre Mendes France from 1954 to 1955 and was appointed Ambassador of France (dignitary) in 1982. Hessel was also a member of the Haute Autorité de l’Audiovisuel (1982-85) and of the Haut Conseil de l’Intégration (1989-93). His many activities included the presidency of Agri-Sud, an association providing aid to small farmers in Africa. In 1996, Hessel was a mediator in the conflict involving undocumented immigrants in France. He was recently behind the creation of the International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium, which was set up to take advantage of the experience acquired by statesmen, scholars, scientists and philosophers. He has been appointed Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur and awarded the Grand-Croix de l’Ordre du mérite. Hessel is the author of many articles and essays on international aid and his published works include Siècle (1995) and Dix pas dans le nouveau siècle (2001)
Frene Ginwala, speaker of the South African Parliament and a militant in the antiapartheid movement, who lived in exile for many years and was the driving force behind the creation of the Pan-African Parliament.
António de Almeida Santos, former speaker of the Portuguese Parliament (1995 to 2001), who had an outstanding career as a parliamentarian and leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party.
Albina du Boisrouvray, founder and president of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Association, known for its action in the protection of orphans and AIDS victims on different continents.
Xanana Gusmão, president of East Timor and leader of the Timorese resistance from 1979 to 1999, recognized as a fervent supporter of the rule of law, pluralistic democracy and respect for human rights.
Maria de Nazaré Gadelha Ferreira Fernandes, lawyer for the Human Rights Defense Centre in the Rio Branco diocese, in the state of Acre (Brazil). Her testimony as to the existence of organised extermination and drug-trafficking groups in the state made her a target for serious threats.
Cornelio Sommaruga, PhD in law, former president of the International Red Cross Committee, ardent defender of the Ottawa Process and an expert on the issue of mines.
Marguerite Barankitse, for her organisation of children’s shelters in Burundi. Ms Barankitse made her mark through her dedication to the cause of war children and of war orphans in particular.
Mário Soares, former president of Portugal. Mr. Soares is well-known for his fight against the dictatorship in his country.
Emma Bonino was rewarded for her commitment to major human causes through her direct intervention in war-torn countries and with disadvantaged populations.
Abderrahman Youssoufi, Prime Minister of Morocco and a passionate defender of human rights in Arab countries, in recognition of his sustained, unconditional work for the cause.
Graça Machel, chairperson of the National Organization of Children of Mozambique for her outstanding work with war children in her country and, at the same time, for her dedication to the cause of education.
Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian Foreign Minister, received the prize for his notable work in the fight against antipersonnel mines all over the world.
Mary Robinson received the 1997 North-South Prize. Thanks to her sustained involvement in the field of human rights, the former president of Ireland was appointed United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.
Patricio Aylwin, former president of Chile, passionately supported and defended the transition to democracy in his country. He was awarded the other prize in recognition of his work.
Danielle Mitterrand, president of the France Libertés Foundation, for her position in favor of the human rights.
Algerian women, for their daily fight for freedom.
Peter Gabriel, whose musical work contributed to the dissemination of music from different parts of the world. In 1992, he launched the Witness programme which provided logistical support to human rights militants worldwide.
Vera Duarte, the first woman to be elected to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.