The Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003)

Following the initiative of the Villa Decius Association, the Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003) was established in the year 2003 with an aim to promote human rights, democracy and tolerance and had its first edition already in 2004. The permission to establish the Prize was granted by Sérgio’s mother, Madam Gilda Vieira de Mello. 


Since 2011 it is called “The Polish Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2002-2003)”.


Laureates of the Prize:


  • Tadeusz Mazowiecki (Poland) and the ‘One World’ Association (Poland), 2004
  • Father Marian Żelazek SVD (India) and the Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe (Poland), 2005
  • Alaksandr Milinkiewicz (Belarus) and Jewish Culture Festival (Poland), 2006
  • Maryna Hulia (Russian Federation-Poland) and the Magurycz Association (Poland), 2007
  • Krystyna Pryjomko-Serafin (United Kingdom) and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland); Honorary Prize – Szewach Weiss (Izrael) and Distinction of the Panel of Judges – Michał Żejmis (Poland), 2008
  • Fatos Lubonja (Albania) and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (Iraq); Honorary Prize – Leopold Unger (Belgium-Poland), 2009
  • Nagy El-Khoury i Mohammad al-Nokkari (Lebanon) and the ‘Memorial’ Association (Russian Federation); Honorary Prize – Late Andrzej Przewoźnik (Poland), 2010
  • Hassan Omar Hassan (Kenya) and the Halina Niec Legal Aids Centre (Poland); Honorary Prize – Bernard Kouchner (France), 2011
  • Sister Rafael - Urszula Nałęcz (Rwanda-Poland) and the ‘People in Need’ Association (Czech Republic); Honorary Prize – Arnold Wellman (USA), 2012
  • Myrosław Marynowicz (Ukraine) and Denis Hurley Centre (Republic of South Africa); Honorary Prize – Adam Daniel Rotfeld (Poland), 2013.
  • Leyla Yunus (Azerbaijan), Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance (Bulgaria), 2014.
  • Pietro Bartolo (Italy) and the La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery (Poland); Honorary Prize – Siergiej Kowalow (Russian Federation), 2015
  • Tahira Abdullah (Pakistan), Culturesof Resistance Network Foundation oraz Staffan de Mistura (Italy), 2016
  • Archbishop Alfons Nossol (Poland) and Barzani Charity Foundation (Kurdistan), 2017
  • Basil Kerski (Poland) and the Interreligious Council of Albania; Honorary Prize – Hanaa Edwar (Iraq), 2018


The Prize is awarded annually in two categories:


  • a person
  • a non-governmental organisation


The Prize is awarded to individuals and organizations from all over the world by the Panel of Judges composed of High Representatives of: the President of the Republic of Poland; UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil to Poland; Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Poland; Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Institute of National Remembrance; Polish Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, Embassies, Consulates and Foundations supporting actions of the Villa Decius Association in matters related to human rights; Founders of the Prize; Chairman and Director of the Villa Decius Association.


The Laureates receive a personal Diploma and a statuette of Sergio Vieira de Mello designed by an outstanding Polish artist, Andrzej Renes. The Prize may also have a financial dimension. The ceremony of awarding the Prize takes place annually in October within the framework of international conferences dedicated to the idea of freedom organized by the Association at the Villa Decius in Krakow.


Honorary patronage:


  • Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil to Poland
  • Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Poland
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees





Sergio Vieira De Mello

 Sergio Vieira de Mello was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948. He obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Humanities at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He devoted almost whole his life to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and since 1969 participated in humanitarian and peace missions in Bangladesh, Sudan, Cyprus, Mozambique and Peru. In 1981, he became senior political adviser to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. Between 1983 and 1991, he held highest positions in UNHCR in Geneva and countries under UN protection. As Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he performed duties of the Director for Repatriation for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). He was the head of United Nations Protection Force in former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). In 1996 he was appointed Assistant of the UN Secretary-General and Assistant of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. As Special Envoy for the UN Secretary-General, he was Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Great Lakes in Africa. Two years later, in New York, he became UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affa­irs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. He was Special Envoy for the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (1999) and later he became the head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in years 1999-2002. On 12 September 2002, Sergio Vieira de Mello was appointed as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In June 2003, as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, he started four months long negotiating mission to Iraq. He was killed on 19 August 2003 in terrorist bombing of the UN seat in Baghdad.







krakow Forum Dialogu (3)








honorowy patronat / honorary patronage


unhcr2016                             ambasada_szwecja





icorn2016                           msz


















współpraca / cooperations


Chancellery of the President of Poland


Department of United Nations and Humana Rights,
Polish Ministry of Foreign Afairs


Polish Commissioner for  Civil Rights Protection


Institute of National Remembrance


Consulate General of the United States in Krakow


Znak Christian Culture Foundation


PAUCI Foundation


Res Publica Nowa



patronat medialny/media patrons


logo_rzeczpospolita               log_tvp_krakow_niebieskie               log_polskie_radio_dla_zagranicy


log_radio_krakow               a5_dziennik            respublica_daje


log_visegrad_insight                  log_www_krakow_pl




















  • Tadeusz Mazowiecki – the first Prime Minister of the Third Republic of Poland (1989-1991). Politician, journalist and social activist. Founder and editor of the “Więź” magazine and the weekly “Solidarność.” During August 1980, he was the chairman of the Commission of Experts working with the Inter-Factory Strike Committee at the Gdansk Shipyard. Interned in the period of 1981-1982. Advisor to Lech Wałęsa and the National Executive Committee of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity”. One of the chief negotiators at the Round Table talks of 1989. Co-founder and leader of the Democratic Union Party and the Freedom Union. Member of Parliament (1991-2000) and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for European Integration. In 1992-1995 the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights to the former Yugoslavia. One of the main authors of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (1997). Awarded with the Order of the White Eagle and numerous Polish and international prizes. Since 2010 National and International Policy Advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland.


  • “One World” Association from Poznan is a part of an international organization the Service Civil International. Advocating international solidarity, social justice and sustainable development, it implements numerous local and international voluntary and educational projects with the utmost aim of building the culture of peace. Using various working methods and drawing on the treasure of multiculturalism, it aims its activities at many groups of addressees: youth and elderly, children and parents, teachers and private sector representatives. The Association’s volunteers are engaged in projects dedicated to antidiscrimination and human rights, and in the global development initiatives.


  • Father Marian Żelazek, SVD (1918-2006) – polish Roman Catholic priest, a missionary and member of the Societas Verbi Divini. During the Second World War, a prisoner of the Dachau concentration camp. Graduate of theological studies at the Anselmianum Institute in Rome. Since 1950, he worked as a missionary in Kesramal, Northern part of the Indian Orissa state, teaching native tribal inhabitants of India, Adivasi. He founded 165 schools. Since 1975 he devoted his life to social, educational, charity and medical work for people suffering from leprosy in a leprosarium which he opened in Puri, the Bay of Bengal. Advocate of ecumenical dialogue, founder of the St. Arnold Spirituality Centre in Orissa. In 2002, he was nominated to Nobel Prize.



  • “Krzyżowa” Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe – independent Polish NGO advocating European understanding and mutual respect between nations, communities and individuals, and facilitating development of the European civil society. “Krzyżowa” is a place of cooperation and dialogue, vibrating with energy of life thanks to diversity of people meeting there, their ideas and actions. The Foundation has its seat in a palace complex at Krzyżowa in the Lower Silesia Region, the place which was once belonged to the family von Moltke and was a centre of operation for “Krąg” opposition group during the Nazi times. In 1989, Krzyżowa witnessed a historic Reconciliation Mass, which brought the Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl together.



  • Aleksandr Milinkevich – holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and physics; Assistant Professor of the Grodno State University and the University in Algiers. In 1990-1996 he was a Deputy Chairman of the Grodno City Executive Committee for Culture, Education, Medicine, Sport, Youth and International Relations. From 1996 he acted as the President of the Grodno District Social Association “Ratusz” which was shut down by a court order in 2003. Leader of the Belarus opposition. Founder and leader of the “Movement for Freedom”. He was the candidate of whole democratic opposition in presidential elections of 2006. Honorary member of the Union of Poles in Belarus. Laureate i.a. of the Sacharow Prize (2006), and the Casimir Pulaski Foundation: Knight of Freedom Award for promoting freedom, justice and democracy (2007).


  • Jewish Culture Festival Association in Krakow was established in March 1995 in order to organise annual Jewish Culture Festival and to stimulate other activities related to the Jewish heritage and culture. The festival is one of the oldest and the biggest such events in the world and, definitely, the one most recognized in Poland. Every year, over 200 festival events organized in just ten days, present contemporary Israeli and Diaspora Jewish culture and enable their international audience a personal contact with Jewish culture and experience via abounding workshops programme. The Festival aims at building understanding, tolerance and respect for other cultures, religions and opinions.


  • Maryna Hulia – Russian teacher and promoter of Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian cultures. Since 2005 affiliated to the Polish Association for Legal Education. Curator of exhibitions of Belorussian artists, among others, Paweł Wojnicki and Aleksander Litin, and also the batik exhibition of Elena Dzikavitska, political refugee. She initiates and manages charity collections for Children of Beslan and Chechen refugees. Her priority is to promote peaceful coexistence of societies, religions and cultures, as well as overcoming stereotypes in perceiving refugees and “others” – prisoners, former prisoners and their families. Her actions stimulate activities of social groups and enable immigrants to adapt better and quicker to the reality of their new country of residence.


  • The Magurycz Association is a non-profit organisation based in Nowica in the Low Beskid Montains. The 27 years long period of the Association’s activity is based on the social work of volunteers from Poland and Ukraine. The Association aims at protecting the cultural heritage, focusing on the sepulchral art (stone masonry) of the denominational cemeteries (Rusyn, Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, German) and on the roadside sacral architecture, which were abandoned after wars and resettlements in South-Eastern Poland and Ukraine. A very important part of the Association’s activity is promoting the concept of multicultural heritage and presentation of its values through the stone masonry workshops, exhibitions, as well as theatrical and publishing activities.


  • Krystyna Pryjomko-Serafin – in 1940, as a child, she and her family were sent to exile to Arkhangelsk. Between 1942 and 1948, she found a shelter in the settlement of Tengeru (today’s Tanzania), together with mothers and children who had escaped the misery of Russia and were waiting for the war’s end. In 2002, together with her son, she moved from Great Britain to Arusha and initiated actions aiming at establishing a shelter for saved children of the women-prisoners from the nearby prison. With the funding from the former “Africans” and support of the missionary Father Jacek Rejman and St. Gemma Galgani Sisters, St. Gabriel Home started its operation in 2005. The Home restores the children their lost childhood, provides them with care, food and access to education.



  • The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland, based in Warsaw, was established in 1989. Its creation was preceded by the activity of the Helsinki Committee in Poland, which existed in the underground since 1982. Currently, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is one of the most experienced and professional non-government organisations active in the field of human rights in Europe. The foundation carries out numerous legal programmes: The Precedential Cases Program, the Observatory Freedom of Media in Poland, Immigrant and Refugee Help Programme and its experts carry out large-scale educational activities, including numerous international trainings on human rights and, as well as popularizing activities, such as the International Film Festival “WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film”.


  •  Honorary Prize: Szevah Weiss – Professor of political science, publicist, politician, diplomat and the former Ambassador of Israel to Poland. He lectures at the Institute of Political Science of the Warsaw University, founder of the Research Centre for Israeli-Polish Relations and the Institute of Israeli-Polish Relations at the University of Tel Aviv. He chairs the Scientific Council Yad Vashem. In 1992-1996, he was the Chairman of Knesset. He actively works for popularising the mutual Polish-Jewish history and developing mutual relations. Laureate of many prizes. In 2004 honoured with the Grand Cross of Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and awarded with the Honorary Distinction “Bene Merito” by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.


  • Special Distinction: Michał Żejmis – works at the National Library in Warsaw and as a reporter in Radio Polska Live. Political scientist by education, researcher in foreigners and disabled people integration determinants, and in regional labour market. He cooperates with the Institute of Social Policy of the Warsaw University and coordinates the “Migrant Knowledge Website”. Cofounder of the Institute of Belorussian Culture and the Foundation for Development “Beyond Borders.” Author of many scientific publications. Initiator of activities which serve overcoming cultural barriers and prejudice against refugees from the East. Promoter of Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian cultures. Participant of projects addressed to refugees and influencing their quicker social adaptation.



  • Fatos Lubonja – albanian writer and publicist and human rights activist. In 1974, he was imprisoned for his writing activity and was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment. After his release from prison in 1991, involved in Human Rights Forum and a publisher of the quarterly review “Përpjekja” (“Endeavour”). Member of the Albanian Helsinki Committee. Author of many books and publications: “In the Seventeenth Year” (1994), “The Final Slaughter” (1994), “The Second Sentence” (1996), “Threatened Freedom” (1999), “Albania’s Heritage in Danger” (1999). His “Albania – Threatened Freedom” was published in Polish by the Pogranicze Publishing House (2005).


  • The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) – headed by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, UNAMI is mandated to advise and assist the Government and people of Iraq on inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation, the electoral process and in the planning for a national census, facilitating regional dialogue, and promoting the protection of human rights, judicial and legal reform. UNAMI has played a crucial role in providing significant support in the drafting of the Iraq’s 2005 Constitution, assisting in six elections and coordinating UN humanitarian efforts. After having successfully helped establish, train and advise Iraqi first High Electoral Commission, the Mission is currently assisting the Government establish an Independent High Commission for Human Rights to promote and protect the rights of all Iraqi people according to international standards. UNAMI is headquartered in Baghdad with offices inside Iraq (Erbil, Basra and Kirkuk) and outside the country, in Kuwait, Amman and Teheran.


  • Honorary Prize: Leopold Unger – Polish journalist of Jewish descent, columnist, essayist, commentator of international affairs, widely known under pen names Brukselczyk or Pol Mathil. During the Second World War he stayed in Romania, where since 1948 he worked as a correspondent for the Polish Press Agency in Bucharest. After the war, he worked in Warsaw for the daily “Życie Warszawy”. In 1967 removed from the editorial team for political reasons and forced to leave Poland in 1969.

    Since 1969 a publicist for the Brussels daily “Le Soir” and collaborator of “Kultura” (Paris), “Radio Free Europe – Polish section of BBC” and “International Herald Tribune”. A regular columnist for the daily “Gazeta Wyborcza”. Received the Polish PEN Club Award and the Jan Karski Eagle Award.


  • Nagy El-Khoury, Maronite and the director of the Alumni Association of Notre Dame de Jamhour College; and Sheikh Mohammad al-Nokkari, former executive director of Dar Al. Fatwa and the head of the Office of Sunni Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, are both activists for Christian-Muslim dialogue in Lebanon. In 2007, thanks to their efforts, 25th March – the Day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – has become the day of regular meetings between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and interreligious dialogue throughout a whole region. In 2010 the Day of the Annunciation of the B.V.M, described both in the Bible and in the Koran, was recognized by Lebanese authorities as the Christian-Muslim national holiday. During its celebrations on 25 March 2010, the former President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Wałęsa was its guest of honour.


  • The Memorial Association has operated since 1989 striving to preserve the memory of the victims of Stalinist repression and the subsequent political repressions in countries of the former USSR. Memorial carries out documentary, archival and historical research, legal and educational activities on political imprisonments and exile, as well as monitors human rights violations. Thanks to the Association, publicly available exhibitions, collections of documents and specialist libraries that gather materials on political repressions during totalitarian communist system, were created. In 1991, on the initiative of the Memorial, the Act on Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression was enacted to restore the honour of thousands of citizens of the former Soviet Union and 30 October was set the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Political Repression.


  • Honorary Prize: Andrzej Przewoźnik (1963-2010) – historian, columnist, involved in the activities of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity” in the years 1981-1989. The editor-in-chief of “Niepodległość” magazine. From 1992 he served as the Secretary General of the Council for the Protection of World War II memorials. He was involved in the construction of Polish war cemeteries in Katyn, Mednoye and Kharkov, war cemetery and a memorial to victims of the crimes in Jedwabne, as well as restoration of the Cemetery of the Defenders of Lviv. He was a vice-president of the Committee for Commemorating Katyn Victims at the Prime Minister’s Office (1994-1998). Member of museum councils, including: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Museum of Independence in Warsaw, Central Museum of Prisoners-of-War in Łambinowice-Opole, Warsaw Uprising Museum, World War II Museum in Gdansk. He died tragically on 10 April, 2010 in a presidential plane crash near Smolensk.


  • Hassan Omar Hassan – lawyer and activist calling for creation of civil society in Kenya. Vice-president of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Founder of the Muslim Consulting Council and “Muungano wa Mageuzi” (“Movement for Change”) which both aimed at strengthening democratic processes and carrying free elections in 2002. Particularly engaged in actions for fighting ethnic, religious and cultural divisions which are used to attain short-term political objectives. Advocate of women’s rights and improvement of conditions in Kenyan refugee camps. Promoter of constitutional changes, political reforms and a witness protection programme.


  • Halina Nieć Legal Aid Centre, (HNLAC) is a NGO opened in Krakow in 2002 by graduates of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University, as the initiative of Halina Nieć, Ph.D., to promote and respect human rights, provide legal aid free of charge and implement projects related to education and democratisation. The organisation provides legal aid in civil law cases, helps refugees and other foreigners seeking protection in Poland, organises trainings on human rights and refugee protection, monitors prisons’ and border crossings’ standards of treatment and accessibility to refugee procedures, as well as their observance of the principle of no-refoulement. HNLAC cooperates with police and La Strada Foundation in counteracting human trafficking and participates in works of the Team for Matters of Trafficking in Human Beings of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The Centre is an executive partner of the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


  • Honorary Prize: Bernard Kouchner – French doctor, politician and activist for humanitarian help. From 1988 to 2010, he was the Minister for Humanitarian Action, Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs in several French governments. In 1999-2001, nominated as UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Since 1968, he organised and participated in numerous humanitarian missions for victims of nuclear, industrial and political catastrophes, among others in: Biafra, Jordan, Lebanon, Saigon. Co-founder of “Doctors Without Borders” (1971) and “Doctors of the World” (1980) organisations, as well as a foundation for fighting against AIDS and helping homeless (1993). On his initiative, France presented and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on creating “humanitarian channels” enabling doctors and humanitarian aid organisations to access countries which are war-stricken or affected by natural disasters.


  • Sister Rafaela – Urszula Nałęcz – Polish missionary and pedagogue, creator of missionary educational centres in India, Republic of South Africa and Rwanda. In her work she is particularly focused on providing help to orphaned and blind children. In 1954 she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross and took her vows in 1963. She worked for the Educational and Training Centre at Laski and cooperated with the Primate’s Committee for People Deprived of their Freedom and their Families. As a missionary and pedagogue, she worked in India, where she founded a centre for blind children; first an orphanage and then a primary boarding school. She also helped orphans and the blind in the Republic of South Africa. It is thanks to her hard work that the first centre of its type was created in Rwanda, under the name of The Kibeho Educational Centre for the Blind. Her work was recognized by President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski who awarded her with the Officer’s Cross of Polonia Restituta. Holder of Bene Merito Distiction of Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Laureate of the PONTIFICI – Building Bridges Award issued by the Warsaw Catholic Intelligence Club for „merits in promoting the values of common good, dialogue and sacrifices made for others”.


  • People in need (Človĕk v tístni) – the oldest in the Czech Republic and one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Central Europe which has worked for the protection of human rights and taking humanitarian aid to trouble areas across the world. It was founded in 1992 by war and international correspondents and soon it expanded its areas of activities and became a professional humanitarian organization. It is currently involved in humanitarian aid, global development cooperation, promoting human rights, social integration and educational and informational activities. People in Need is also an organizer of annual International Documentary Film Festival “One World” devoted to the theme of human rights, and grants “Homo Homini” award to people who have particularly contributed to human rights and development of democracy in the world.


  • Hononary Award: Arnold Wellman. A citizen of the United States, Arnold Wellman for many years held the post of Vice President for Corporate and Public Relations at American UPS (United Parcel Service) Corporation. Currently, he is a member of the boards of US Council for International Business, US ASEAN Business Council, the American Trucking Association, the National Center for APEC, and the National Bureau of Asian Research.


    During his long-term career with UPS, his duties among others included managing the budget of corporate social responsibility programmes. It was as part of this operation that Mr Wellman supported the development of local communities by increasing children and youth’s access to education in many of the world’s poorest countries. UPS continues to build and furnished schools and to finance scholarships for children in Poland, Ukraine, India, Mexico, China, and the poorest regions of the United States. The programme that UPS developed provides thousands of children with opportunities for better future. Access to computers and the Internet becomes their “window to the world”, shows broader perspectives for the future, and encourages them to use the opportunities they had not known before. The schools were built with significant contribution of UPS volunteers, whose number included Arnold Wellman himself, representatives of the US Congress, and rank-and-file UPS personnel who worked physically on the construction of the individual sites.


    In 2012, Arnold Wellman retired and established a foundation supporting the development of local communities. For his contribution to the development of education, and personal involvement in the construction of schools in Lipa and Sierakośce in Podkarpackie Region, and in Nizhankovitsi and Holovetsko in Ukraine, he was awarded the Order of the Smile in 2009.



  • Myrosław Marynowicz – professor in religion studies, journalist, translator, social activist, co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and Amnesty International, President of the Ukrainian International PEN-Club and Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. He is a member of advisory group on ecumenism to the Superior of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and of the “Justice and Peace” Committee, operating within the Orthodox Church. Awarded in 2008 with the Ukrainian Order of Freedom, in recognition of his achievements in consolidating the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, development of democracy, respect for constitutional rights and individual freedoms of men and citizens. In 2006, received the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic. Myroslaw Marynovych plays a special role in the Ukrainian intellectual and scientific life and the circles of secular Greek Catholics, always maintaining an independent position and courage in passing judgments. He plays a key role in relations with Poland, having for years made every effort to promote transnational interfaith and peaceful coexistence of Polish and Ukrainian cultures. He is a leading representative of Ukrainian communities open to dialogue, rejecting nationalist and xenophobic attitudes, and advocating reconciliation between Poles and Ukrainians.

  • Refugee Aid – Denis Hurley’s Centre – is a dynamic charity organisation founded in 2009 in RSA, providing aid for African refugees who had to leave their countries for political or economic reasons. The patronage over the centre was held by once a Archbishop of Durban, Denis Eugene Hurley (1915 – 2004). The organisation is maintained by government grants, foreign donations, local foundations and private contributions. It is a centre unique on African scale, providing not only immediate help to refugees in their first weeks in the new country, but also delivering long-term, comprehensive care. The Centre helps the refugees in taking advantage of health programmes, finding employment, schools, professional training courses, and assists them in participating in educational programmes on tolerance. Every day it gives support to almost 500 people seeking help.


  • Leyla Yunus (1955) – imprisoned Azerbaijani social activist, leader of the Institute for Peace and Democracy during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She was the head of the Information and Analysis Department in the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence, in the rank of colonel. She left after Heydar Aliyev’s coup. In 1995, she set up the Institute for Peace and Democracy, which since 2003 has operated Women’s Crisis Centre for victims of family violence. The main areas of the institute’s operation are fight against human trafficking, struggle for the rights of the forcibly evicted, and activity in support of political prisoners independent of their political or religious affiliation. Author of numerous reports on political prisoners. For years she has been the focus of a media hatred campaign: accused of Armenian genes, and unbecoming behaviour while working for the Ministry of Defence. Recipient of the Teodor Haecker Award, she is Knight of the Legion of Honour of France, and has been shortlisted for Sakharov Prize (2014). On 28th April this year, she was detained together with her husband in Baku Airport, before a planned trip to a conference organised by the EED in Brussels. Without a court verdict or a prosecutor’s injunction, the couple’s passports were confiscated, rendering their departure from the country impossible, moreover, searches were made in the office of the Institute for Peace and Democracy and in the couple’s private home. Arrested together with her husband, Arif Yunus, she has been in prison without access to the essential medical aid and possibility of contacting the family. Her detention was condemned by the government of the United States and the leading world organisations supporting human rights.

  • Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance is a leading Bulgarian organisation working for the equal rights and integration of the Roma in Bulgarian society. The organisation chiefly supports intercultural education and integration through education. Amalipe cooperates with over 250 schools in Bulgaria, trying to counteract dropping out of Roma children from education prematurely. It also becomes involved in initiatives related to health protection and prevention of contagious diseases, and runs a network of the so-called “health mediators” supporting people of Roma origin in access to and use of healthcare. The organisation carries out campaigns in support of including Roma issues into state policies, notably the Human Capital Operational Programme. In 11 Bulgarian communes, Amalipe has developed Community Development Centres and local clubs. These institutions motivate the Roma to continue education, support violence and early marriage prevention, and helped to build civil identity. For years, the centre has furthered increasing the level of tolerance of the Roma in Bulgarian society, with the range of means including festivals of Roma culture and information campaigns. The organisation is a member of the Civic Council by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, National Network for Children, European Women’s Lobby, and many other institutions and public councils.


See also