September 22, 2018

War correspondent Rudi Vranckx awarded Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize

The Hague – Belgian war correspondent Rudi Vranckx will receive the 2018 Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize. The board of the Carnegie Foundation Peace Palace will award Vranckx for his outstanding courage and commitment to reporting from conflict areas, giving people affected by conflict a face and a voice. In addition to his work as a journalist, Vranckx showed exceptional commitment by personally transporting musical instruments to a destroyed music school in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The laureate

As a journalist for the Belgian public broadcaster VRT, Rudi Vranckx (1959) has shown the effect of conflict on daily life with personal reports. The board of the Carnegie Foundation recognizes his courage to travel to the most dangerous conflict areas in the world. He started his career as a war correspondent in 1989 reporting on the uprising against Ceausescu in Romania. Over the past decades he has reported on wars and conflicts around the world, including in the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East and North Africa, to draw attention to suffering and injustice in conflict situations. Vranckx was one of the last European journalists to leave Egypt during the violence of the Arab Spring and he lived through an attack in Syria that killed his French colleague.

Apart from showing the world the drama and injustice of conflicts as a journalist, Vranckx has shown exceptional personal engagement with the inhabitants of conflict areas. When he came across a music school in the Iraqi city of Mosul that was deliberately and completely destroyed by IS in 2017, Vranckx started a collection of musical instruments in his home country Belgium. He finally delivered the 120 collected instruments to the music school himself. His documentary about this project, ‘Imagine Mosul’, managed to touch many. Back home, he followed up on the project by raising money for an organisation that provides music lessons to young refugees in Belgium.

Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize

The Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize is awarded every two years to a person or an institution furthering the cause of international peace, ‘ in whatever way, by word or deed in the form of international action, in literature, or the arts’. The award is named after the Dutch banker Johan Wateler who decided more than 100 years ago – amid the horrors of the First World War – to donate almost his entire capital for peace. Following the example of Alfred Nobel, Wateler drew up a testament for the establishment of a Peace Prize. The Peace Prize was awarded for the first time in 1931. In 2016 the prize was awarded to top Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag, who is now the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. In the years before that the prize was awarded to UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi (2014) and War Child (2012).

Award Ceremony

The Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize 2018 will be awarded to Rudi Vranckx on Wednesday 26 September 2018 in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague. He will receive the prize from Bernard Bot, Chairman of the Board of the Carnegie Foundation and Former minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The award consists of 35,000 EUR in prize money. and an official certificate.

During the ceremony also the first Youth Carnegie Peace Prize will be awarded. This prize goes to a youth initiative that is committed to a more peaceful world.

 

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