Presenters 2018 Four Freedoms Awards known!

On 30 April the chairman of the Roosevelt Foundation and King's Commissioner in the Province of Zeeland, Mr. Han Polman, announced who will present the Four Freedoms Awards to the 2018 Four Freedoms Awards Laureates on 16 May in Middelburg.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge will present the International Four Freedoms Award to Christiana Figueres who represents the many people whose hard work and dedication contributed to the realization of the Paris Climate Agreement. Co-presenter is Perrin Roosevelt Ireland, great-granddaughter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt;
  • Ms. Fidan Ekiz, Dutch journalist and documentary maker, will present the Award for the Freedom of Speech and Expression to Erol Onderoglu;
  • Ms. Karen Armstrong, British author and an expert on religion, will present the Award for the Freedom of Worship to Bishop Paride Taban;
  • Mr. André Kuipers. Dutch astronaut and ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund (WNF), will present the Award for the Freedom from Want to Emmanuel de Merode on behalf of the Virunga Alliance;
  • Mr. Herman van Veen, Dutch performing artist and children's rights activist, will present the Award for the Freedom from Fear to Urmila Chaudhary.


Mr. Hugo de Jonge, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport
Presenter of the International Four Freedoms Awards

Hugo de Jonge is Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport and Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Hugo de Jonge started his career in education. First as a teacher in primary education and subsequently as a school leader. He then made a shift to national policy working as a policy assistant with the CDA-faction in the House of Representatives, as political assistant of several ministers and as civil servant at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. From 2010 until 2017 he was alderman in Rotterdam with the portfolio of Education, Youth and Family. From 2014 Healthcare was added to his portfolio as well. Minister De Jonge is a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

About the Four Freedoms Awards Deputy Prime Minister De Jonge says:

“Everybody wants to live without poverty and fear. Yet, this is for many people, here and in the rest of the world, not a matter of course. Climate change contributes to increase that injustice. Long-term drought, great floods and extreme hurricanes are causing disrupted societies, fear and – even more – inequality. The Climate Agreement of Paris is an agreement with more ambition than many of us had dared to hope or dream. Climate policy is one of the priorities of the current Dutch government. Hopefully, in a few decades from now, we will be able to look back on Paris as a historic turning point. The point at which, together, we were able to turn the tide.”

Ms. Fidan Ekiz / Dutch journalist and documentary maker
Presenter of the Award for the Freedom of speech and Expression

Fidan Ekiz is a Dutch journalist and documentary maker. She was a correspondent in Istanbul for RTL-news and Dutch newspapers. During the Iraq war in 2003 she reported as a war correspondent at the Turkish-Iraqi border and in North Iraq. She also worked as an editor for “Pauw and Witteman” a Dutch television program. Today she appears regularly at the table of the television program “De wereld draait door”.
In 2009 she made the documentary series “Ferry to Holland”. The documentary tells the emigration story of some Turkish families, also that of her own family, in Rozenburg, a village near Rotterdam. For this documentary she was presented with the Erasmus Euro Media Award. The documentaries “Ik zie een verre reis” (I see a far trip), “Alles komt goed” (Everything will be alright) and “The pen en het zwaard” (The pen and the sword) have been produced by Fidan. This last series tells the story of journalists who struggle for the truth in countries where those in power try to silence them. Fidan Ekiz tells her stories in a compassionate, sensitive and balanced way. In 2017 Fidan Ekiz was awarded the “Duidelijketaalprijs”. This a prize awarded to those who demonstrate an outstanding linguistic competence in their professional domain.


Ms. Karen Armstrong / British author and an expert on religion
Presenter of the Award for the Freedom of Worship

Karen Armstrong is a British author and an expert on religion. She is in great demand as a lecturer all over the world. She’s an expert on Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Her books are characterized by a liberal view on religion. After living as a nun in a convent for 11 years she left it to study English in Oxford. Karen Armstrong is one of the most eloquent authors on topics of religion and faith. She is the author of many bestsellers e.g. “The case for God”(2009) and “Twelve steps to a compassionate life”(2010). Her latest book is called “Fields of Blood, religion and the history of violence which was published in 2014. In 2009 she initiated the charter for compassion. This charter, a text based on the Golden Rule ”do unto others as they would have you do unto them”, is meant to stimulate people and groups in the whole world to live peacefully together. In 2008 Karen Armstrong was awarded the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Worship. The same year she was also the winner of the TED prize. In 1999 she received the Muslim public affairs council’s media award . Last year she was made honorary doctor by VU Amsterdam and was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.

Karen Armstrong considers it a great honor to present the Franklin D. Roosevelt Award for Freedom of Worship to Bishop Taban:

“His courageous and tireless work as a peacemaker in South Sudan and his compassionate concern to alleviate the suffering of its people is an example that our world sorely needs.”

Mr. André Kuipers / Dutch astronaut and ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund (WNF)
Presenter of the Award for the Freedom from Want

André Kuipers is an ESA Astronaut. He is also an ambassador of several organisations among others: the World Wildlife Fund, JustDiggit and the Red Cross Princess Margriet Fund.  After his medical studies he worked as a medical examiner for the Royal Dutch air force.  Later he worked as a doctor and researcher at the European Space Agency, ESA. André Kuipers saw the earth in a way few saw it: from space. He has flown two missions and spent in total 204 days in space.  After his return on earth he focused on the conservation of our planet. From space he also observed the diversity of landscapes and territories, but at the same time he was confronted with the earth’s vulnerability. In order to alert both younger and older people to the importance of taking care of the world we live in, André Kuipers gives lectures.  As an ambassador of various foundations including the André Kuipers Foundation he aims at contributing to the sustainability of our planet and thus ensuring a good future for our youth.

Mr. Herman van Veen / Dutch performing artist and children's rights activist
Presenter of the Award for the Freedom from Fear

Herman van Veen plays the violin, sings, writes, composes, directs, paints and is the creator of the cartoon character Alfred Jodocus Kwak. To date he has produced 182 cd’s and 26 dvd’s . He has published 70 books, some of them have been translated in more than 20 languages. For more than 50 years Van Veen is a children’s rights activist and was for many years an UNICEF ambassador. In addition to the many decorations he received, he was also awarded honorary degrees of the Martin Buber University Brussels/Kerkrade and of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels for his coherent stance towards every form of human injustice and as a defender of free speech. In 2004 Herman van Veen was presented with the World Peace Flame which symbolizes peace, freedom, unity and truth. The club of Budapest awarded him the planetary consciousness award in 2005. Herman has been honoured the “Verdienstkreuz am Band des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland”, was made Knight in the order of Orange Nassau and was later promoted tot Knight in the order of the Dutch Lion.

In the context of the Four Freedoms Awards Herman van Veen was reminded of his beloved statement:
“What is another to you, if he is not different.”

The Four Freedoms Medals are presented each year to men, women and organizations whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to the principles which President Roosevelt proclaimed in his historic speech to Congress on 6 January 1941. In this speech he said that if democracy is to survive and flourish, people everywhere in the world are entitled to four human rights: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Important words that have not lost any of their value and meaning even after 77 years.

Earlier Freedoms Medals were awarded to some of the most distinguished world citizens of our time, including Harry S. Truman, H.R.H. Princess Juliana of The Netherlands, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, J. William Fulbright, Arthur Miller, Jimmy Carter, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Malala Yousafzai, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and dr. Angela Merkel.

The Roosevelt Foundation in Middelburg and the Roosevelt Institute in New York work to inspire people to promote these four freedoms, everywhere in the world. The Four Freedoms Awards ceremonies take place in the odd years in New York and in the even years in Middelburg.

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