Norwegian Refugee Council receives 2022 Hilton Humanitarian Prize

World’s most important annual humanitarian award presented to a non-profit

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB
Jan Egeland is secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a humanitarian organization that works in more than 35 countries.

MARIT FOSSE
Geneva

During the summer lull, while most people were enjoying their summer vacation, the news of the Norwegian Refugee Council being awarded this distinguished prize went virtually unnoticed by the media.

The world’s most important annual humanitarian award presented to a non-profit, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize recognizes the NRC’s extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering, conferring on it the sum of USD 2.5 million.

Accepting the award, Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the NRC, declared: “We are honored to receive this prestigious humanitarian prize at a time when we are challenged like never before in reaching, aiding and protecting people forced to flee war and repression. We are witnessing one devastating crisis on top of the other, authoritarian regimes and brutal armed actors trying to block our access to those in need, and donor purse strings being tightened, leaving aid budgets decimated. This makes the support and recognition from private sector donors such as the Hilton Foundation vital. The world’s displaced must not be overlooked or forgotten.”

Founded in 1946, the NRC is today acknowledged as one of the world’s most outstanding humanitarian organizations, protecting the rights of displaced populations and victims of violence who find themselves in extremely vulnerable situations during crises.

The organization works in more than 35 countries around the world facing both new and protracted humanitarian crises. This year alone, the organization has mobilized efforts following the earthquake in Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine and the deepening drought in Somalia, to name just a few of its interventions.

Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, remarked: “The Norwegian Refugee Council’s work is imperative right now in terms of the organization’s ability to reach people in the most difficult of circumstances, and to do so at scale. The Jury’s selection of the Norwegian Refugee Council as the recipient of the 2022 Hilton Humanitarian Prize recognizes the importance of advocating for displaced people as they build a new future.”

Both the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipo Grandi, formally congratulated the NRC on the recognition of its achievements. The NRC has long worked closely with the High Commissioner for Refugees, in particular when the post was held by António Guterres, Grandi’s immediate predecessor.

Speaking on the occasion of the award, the United Nations Secretary-General declared: “Awarding the 2022 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to the Norwegian Refugee Council is a recognition of their outstanding work with a wide range of stakeholders to ease human suffering. The United Nations values the long experience, skills and networks that the NRC brings to the table, as we work closely together to meet the needs of refugees and displaced people around the world.”

For his part, Flippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, continued in a similar vein: “I congratulate the Norwegian Refugee Council on winning this year’s Hilton Humanitarian Prize. A long-standing and important partner of UNHCR, the NRC is always on the front lines of crises, assisting refugees and other displaced people and making a critical difference to their lives. In a world where more than 100 million people are forced from their homes owing to violence and persecution, I am happy to see that the tangible results of the NRC’s work are recognized with this important prize.”

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Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.

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