As we look back on 2019, which marked the beginning of the Right Livelihood Award’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we feel an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude. We are in awe of the Laureates, who have worked selflessly over the past four decades to create a better world through their innovation, compassion and perseverance. We are grateful to our friends and partners for their generous support that has allowed us to promote and highlight the work of these extraordinary individuals.
As the world around us continued to move in dangerous directions last year, it is clearer than ever that it will take extraordinary efforts to take better care of our environment, eradicate injustice, and ensure the equality and well-being of everyone. The Laureates have been steadfast in their commitment to stopping climate change, eradicating inequality and putting an end to oppression even as the space for civil society continued to shrink around them.
The 2019 Laureates represent many aspects of these global efforts: a teenage climate activist from Sweden, an indigenous leader from Brazil, a peaceful protester from Western Sahara and a women’s rights lawyer from China. They are now bound together by the Right Livelihood Award, being woven into a majestic tapestry of solutions to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
It was a special privilege to present the Award last December at a large-scale gala, which, for the first time in our 40-year history, was open to everyone. More than 1,200 guests took part in the celebration that featured performances by world-class artists.
Our network also continued to grow last year as the result of a new partnership with the Global Campus of Human Rights, the world’s largest educational programme on human rights and democratisation. The partnership will focus on human rights education and the promotion of children’s rights as the Foundation aims to turn our attention even more to ensuring the well-being of future generations.
As we consider the future, we see plenty of new opportunities in 2020, even as the world is faced with the frightening reality of the coronavirus outbreak. In these challenging times, we look to the hope and ingenuity represented by the Laureates. They persevere in their struggle - and so will we in supporting them.
Local challenges facing the Right Livelihood Award Laureates
Around the world, governments have had to take extraordinary measures to tackle COVID-19. Drawing on the experiences of the Laureates, we are running an ongoing interview series to explore the short and long-term effects that these emergency measures have on human rights in their respective countries, and reflect on the role of the international community in safeguarding human rights and preventing abuses.
Conversations that Matter with Right Livelihood Award Laureates
Together with the Right Livelihood College at UC Santa Cruz, we have been hosting a series of online conversations, inviting Laureates to share their perspectives on some of the most pressing current issues.