Prize in honour of advocates of freedom, solidarity and tolerance offered by the City of Gdańsk, the European Committee of the Regions and the International Cities of Refuge Network.
The award is to city leaders, civic leaders, or organisations working in partnership with local and regional authorities, who build bridges and tear down walls, with a clear sense of responsibility for future generations and who does not shy from any urgent battle for human rights and civil liberties, locally, nationally or internationally.
The award honours the life and example of Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk from 1998 until his murder on 13 January 2019. His murder was preceded by an upsurge of hate speech directed against him. The establishment of this Award is also recognition of everyone who works with courage and integrity against intolerance, radicalisation, hate speech, oppression and xenophobia, and who works to promote equal opportunities, social integration and fundamental rights.
Mr Adamowicz was committed to promoting the fundamental values of the EU, and he was an active member of the European Committee of the Regions. In 2016, Mayor Adamowicz launched the Gdańsk ‘Immigrant Integration Model’ after meeting Pope Francis. It has served as a model that inspired other Polish cities.
Speaking at the ICORN general assembly, the First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, said that the kind of inspiration provided by Mayor Adamowicz is needed because “it makes us stronger when democracy is challenged and when fundamental rights are attacked. It makes us stronger to build solidarity and cohesion in Europe and beyond”. [use a direct quote here, if we can]
Nominees for the Award may be proposed by 15 members of the European Committee [of the Regions? Or what committee? Why “15 members”?], [this seems unnecessary], any city or regional council as well as by international organisations with strong engagement and relevant expertise in the fields of the Award. Nominees for the Award may come from or be active in any country in the world. The deadline for submitting nominations is 31 October 2022. The award ceremony will take place in January 2023.
The first Laureate of the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award is Henriette Reker, the Lord Mayor of Cologne in Germany, in recognition of her extraordinary dedication and work in her city in promoting tolerance, inclusiveness, and the integration and non-discrimination of citizens with migrant backgrounds, whilst fighting hate-speech and xenophobia. Amongst the many personal and professional challenges that she has faced in carrying out this work, she survived a near-fatal xenophobia-motivated knife attack in October 2015.
The European Committee of the Regions, as the political assembly of local and regional politicians in the EU, on the initiative of the Polish delegation, unanimously adopted, on 7 February 2019, a resolution condemning hate speech and threats of all kinds against political leaders.
The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an international organisation of 75 cities and regions in Europe and beyond, offering safe haven to persecuted writers and artists, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. More than 250 writers and artists have been offered residency in an ICORN city. In a safe environment, they continue to play a vital role, both in highlighting violations of human rights and freespeech in their home countries, and in supporting colleagues in their country of origin. Mayor Pawel Adamowicz brought the City of Gdańsk into ICORN on 30 August 2017.
By joining ICORN, the cities become part of a dynamic and global network of solidarity and creativity. ICORN connects and cooperates with relevant public institutions and civil-society organisations that are active in the field of human rights, culture, arts and migration, as well as governmental and inter-governmental bodies, locally and internationally.
Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award – website: #AdamowiczAward