The Four Freedoms Awards are presented annually as a sign that we must continue to fight for essential human freedoms. They are presented to people or organisations that have striven for the Four Freedoms proclaimed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his historic speech to the US Congress on 6 January 1941.
Presentation of the Four Freedoms Awards is a tradition begun by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York in 1950. Roosevelt’s ancestors came from the Zeeland village of Oud-Vossemeer. Since 1982, the presentation has therefore been organised internationally in collaboration with the Roosevelt Foundation in Zeeland. The Roosevelt Foundation (Middelburg) and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (New York) aim to inspire people to keep the Four Freedoms alive, throughout the world. The Four Freedoms Awards are presented in Middelburg in even years and in New York in odd years.
Recipients have included such luminaries as Harry S. Truman, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, J. William Fulbright, Arthur Miller, Desmond Tutu, Terry Waite, Jimmy Carter, Malala Yousafzai and Angela Merkel. Those who have received their Award in Middelburg since 1982 are listed on the Roosevelt Foundation’s website.