The 2012 Nansen Refugee Award, the Nobel Prize for refugee workers, has been offered to Hawa Aden Mohamed, a woman in northeastern Somalia, for her "exceptional, tireless and inspiring humanitarian work".
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) made the announcement on Monday in Geneva.
The announcement said Hawa Aden Mohamed, founder and director of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development in northeastern Somalia, had been recognized for her exceptional, tireless and inspiring humanitarian work for Somalia's refugee and displaced girls and women, work performed under incredibly difficult and challenging circumstances in a country battered by decades of violence and conflict.
This year's laureate, Hawa Aden Mohamed, is a former refugee who chose to return to her war-torn homeland in 1995, where she launched an ambitious education program to assist those uprooted by the nation's persistent conflict and recurring droughts, the announcement said.
In particular, her visionary work has transformed the lives of thousands of displaced women and girls, who are among the most vulnerable members of Somali society and in many cases are grappling with the trauma of marginalization, abuse and sexual violence, including rape.
In 1954, UNHCR established the Nansen Refugee Award to promote global interest in refugees and to keep alive the spirit of Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations period prior to World War II. To date, the Nansen Refugee Award Committee has awarded 68 Nansen Medals to individuals, groups or organizations.