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Recipients of the Medal

2012 — Maria Gunnoe
Maria Gunnoe is a fearless advocate for environmental and social justice. Despite threats and intimidation Ms. Gunnoe works to educate and build citizen advocacy, and to rally communities that face the destruction of their natural environment in her home of Boone County, West Virginia.

About Maria Gunnoe »

2011 — Aung San Suu Kyi
Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has committed her life to the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. Since 1988, she has been the leader of the democratic opposition and a voice of conciliation and unity among the regions and peoples of Burma.

About Aung San Suu Kyi »

2010 — Denis Mukwege
Dr. Denis Mukwege is a leading voice in the effort to bring attention to the continued problem of warfare and sexual violence in the Congo. Dr. Mukwege is an OB/GYN, a surgeon and the director of Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He specializes in the surgical treatment of women who have been raped, usually by armed militia or soldiers, in the ongoing war zones of Congo’s eastern Kivu provinces.

About Denis Mukwege »

2009 — Lydia Cacho
Lydia Cacho is a journalist, author, feminist and human rights activist. She has spoken out against the abuse of women in Mexico, using the unsolved murders in Ciudad Juárez as a call to action against the failure to bring justice to perpetrators of violence against women. Cacho founded Ciam Cancún, a shelter for battered women and children, providing refuge for countless individuals.

About Lydia Cacho »

2008 — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Desmond Tutu rose to international fame during the 1980s as a deeply committed advocate of nonviolent resistance to apartheid. In 1995, Nelson Mandela asked Tutu to investigate atrocities committed on all sides during the apartheid years, appointing him chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

About Desmond Tutu »

2008 — Sompop Jantraka
For over 15 years, Sompop Jantraka has worked tirelessly to save children in Asia’s Mekong sub-region from being sold into prostitution. In 1989, he founded the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC). DEPDC works with impoverished children by providing shelter, education and various outreach activities. Since its inception, DEPDC helped prevent thousands of children from succumbing to the sex industry or other exploitative child labor situations.

About Sompop Jantraka »

2006 — Sister Luise Radlmeier
When refugee children from Sudan began to appear on her doorstep in Nairobi, Sister Luise Radlmeier responded by providing food, shelter and so much more. Over the past two decades she both secured the funding and arranged for the further education and training of more than 1,000 Sudanese youth. Sister Luise acts on her belief that education is the means of securing their future.

About Sister Luise Radlmeier »

2005 — Paul Rusesabagina
In 1994 more than a million people were killed during Rwanda’s civil strife. A hotel manager in the capital of Kigali, Rusesabagina courageously sheltered more than a thousand refugees from certain death.

About Paul Rusesabagina »

2004 — Heinz Drossel
Drossel’s active opposition to the Nazis took on a variety of forms including releasing captured prisoners, refusing to follow orders from SS officers and assisting Jewish families in their efforts to hide from the Gestapo.

About Heinz Drossel »

2003 — Bill Basch
Basch joined the Budapest Underground in 1942 and risked his life to deliver food and passports to Jews living in Raoul Wallenberg’s safe houses.

About Bill Basch »

2002 — Kailash Satyarthi
India’s lodestar for the abolition of child labor, Satyarthi has emancipated thousands of people, including 34,000 children, from bonded labor, a form of modern-day slavery.

About Kailash Satyarthi »

2001 — Marcel Marceau
Marceau joined the French Resistance and successfully smuggled Jewish children across the French border into Switzerland, later incorporating his experiences into his mime works.

About Marcel Marceau »

2000 — Nina Lagergren
Raoul Wallenberg’s half-sister, Lagergren continues to work tirelessly to learn the full story of her brother’s fate and to educate children about his humanitarian accomplishments.

About Nina Lagergren »

1999 — John Lewis
A human rights advocate since 1963, when he became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis has remained a driving force for civil rights in the U.S. For over four decades he has worked tirelessly through both non-profit organizations and as a member of Congress since 1986.

About John Lewis »

1997 — Simha Rotem
A participant in both the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, Rotem helped rescue survivors by making clever use of the city’s maze-like underground sewer system.

About Simha Rotem »

1996 — Marion Pritchard
A student at the University of Amsterdam when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Pritchard rescued as many as 150 people, many of them children.

About Marion Pritchard »

1995 — Per Anger
A longtime friend and colleague of Raoul Wallenberg, Ambassador Anger worked closely with him in Budapest to save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews.

About Per Anger »

1994 — His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet
Nobel laureate, spiritual leader and head of the Tibetan government in exile, His Holiness is an internationally honored proponent of nonviolence, human rights and peace.

About The Dalai Lama »

1994 — Miep Gies
Gies sheltered Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. She came to international attention after the posthumous publication of Frank’s diary.

About Miep Gies »

1992 — Helen Suzman
A longtime member of the South African parliament, Suzman worked consistently, and often alone, to dismantle the system of apartheid.

About Helen Suzman »

1991 — Jan Karski
Courier for the Polish underground in World War II, Karski was also an early witness and reporter of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

About Jan Karski »

1990 — Elie Wiesel
Nobel laureate and survivor of Auschwitz, Wiesel has used his incomparable talents as an educator and writer in defense of peace and human rights.

About Elie Wiesel »