On Thursday, April 21, the Four Freedoms Awards were presented to six international freedom fighters. This happened during the Four Freedoms Awards ceremony in the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg, organized by the Roosevelt Foundation. Every other year this ceremony is held in New York and Middelburg. The awards go to persons and organizations that give an inspiring interpretation of the four fundamental freedoms for people all over the world. Franklin Delano Roosevelt first named these freedoms during his speech to the American Congress in 1941, but the freedoms are more relevant than ever.
In front of four hundred invited guests, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya thanked the Roosevelt Foundation for her International Four Freedoms Award. She competed in 2020 against the Belarusian Lukashenko and thus became the face of the peaceful resistance to the dictator. In her acceptance speech, she expressed her continued belief in the power of the people. "We are the majority. The powerless became the powerful. Freedom requires making difficult but right choices. It requires self-sacrifice. Solidarity and humanity are our superpowers."
According to Prime Minister Rutte, who presented the award to Tsikhanouskaya, she is not only an inspiration for the people of Belarus, but also an example for the world. "The award is a recognition of your work in Belarus and a support for the struggle for democracy around the world. U are a beacon of hope."
Laureates Four Freedoms Awards 2022
- This year's International Four Freedoms Award went to the leader of the democratic movement in Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She was presented with her medal by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and twelve-year-old Eleanor James Browne, a descendant of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the granddaughter of his granddaughter Anna Roosevelt).
- The award for Freedom of Speech went to Vietnamese singer-songwriter and fighter for free speech Mai Khoi Do Nguyen. Mai Khoi was presented with her award by spoken word artist Zaire Krieger.
- The award for Freedom of Worship went to Indonesian Lian Gogali, founder and president of the Mosintuwu Institute. Lian was presented with her award by Jacobine Geel, presenter and chairwoman of the Human Rights Board.
- The award for Freedom from Want went to the Kenyan human rights activist Nice Nailantei Leng'ete. Nice was presented with her award by author Lale Gül.
- The award for Freedom from Fear went to the Turkish non-governmental LGBTI+- organization, ÜniKuir. The founders of ÜniKuir, Melike Balkan and Özgür Gür, were presented with their award by presenter Paul de Leeuw.
Four Freedoms Meet-up
Following the ceremony, the Four Freedoms Meet-up took place in the Nieuwe Kerk. In cooperation with Stichting Vrijheidscolleges, the Roosevelt Foundation wants to address a younger target group. There were 200 people in the audience, mainly young people who could question the award winners. Present at the Meet-up was soccer player and activist for peace, Evegeniy Levchenko. He spoke with Tsikhanouskaya about the war in Ukraine and the role of neighboring Belarus in the conflict.
The Four Freedoms Awards ceremony was broadcast live online. Several thousand people watched. The ceremony and Meet-up can still be watched back online at www.fourfreedoms.nl.
More events about freedom
In the coming period, there are several events planned around freedom. As a prelude to Liberation Day on May 5, the Stichting Vrijheidscolleges is organizing, on behalf of the Roosevelt Foundation, several freedom lectures at schools throughout the country, such as a talk show in TivoliVredenburg with Lale Gül, Evegeniy Levchenko and Natascha van Weezel. The entire program of the Stichting Vrijheidscolleges can be found at https://vrijheidscolleges.nl/agenda.