Congratulations on the Rafto Prize Award, Rouba Mhaissen!

Director of Sawa for Development and Aid received the 33rd Rafto Prize , on 3 November at the National Stage in Bergen

- If yo want to save the world, make your life about others and it will all come back to you, Rouba Mhaissen said in her acceptance speech at the Rafto Prize Award Ceremony in Bergen.

Bergen, 3 November 2019: The Syrian-Lebanese economist and activist is awarded for her important work to improve the lives of people living as refugees in Lebanon in ways that protect their dignity and right to self-determination.

" When I received the call from the Foundation, I felt survivor guilt, thinking of my fellow Syrians in graves, in war, in tents or in prisons. Bu I also felt happiness, to see Syria once again on the global map, humility - to see me and SAWA's work recognized. But mostly I felt responsibility: how can I use this award and the opputrunities it provides to do my work better, and to further support the communities we serve", said a humble Mhaissen in her acceptance speech.

"If yo want to save the world, make your life about others and it will all come back to you"

Rouba Mhaissen

"Human rights is not a complicated thing. It is a belief. Simply put, as prophet Mohammed has taught me: you will only be a true believer when you wish for your brother what you wish for yourself. If yo want to save the world, make your life about others and it will all come back to you", Rouba Mhaissen stated in front of the sold out theatre hall in Bergen.

Lise Rakner, Head of the Rafto Prize Commitee emphasized the right to have rights in her speech to the laureate before she called Mhaissen to the podium to receive the 2019 Rafto Prize for human rights.

"This group of people, who for periods of their lives live as refugees- do not belong to a trustworthy community- they are simply not part of a “WE, the people”. They are not citizens of a community that will guarantee their rights (...) Today- more than ever- we need human right defenders that insist on expanding the WE of human right to include refugees at local, national and international levels", said Rakner in her speech.

The Award Ceremony was followed by a torchlight procession. From left: Bergen City Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen, Head of the Rafto Prize Commitee Lise Rakner, head of the Rafto board, Martin Paulsen, Rafto Laureate Rouba Mhaissen and Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director at the Rafto Foundation
The Award Ceremony was followed by a torchlight procession. From left: Bergen City Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen, Head of the Rafto Prize Commitee Lise Rakner, head of the Rafto board, Martin Paulsen, Rafto Laureate Rouba Mhaissen and Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director at the Rafto Foundation

Also present this evening was Rafto Laureate Nnimmo Bassey who received the Rafto Prize in 2012. He welcomed Rouba to the Rafto family:

"The prize is importance in the sense that you are not alone. And I can sense that you are committed. You have strength and power. Never look back", he said when he was invited to the stage.

Other performances tonight were: Sigrid Moldestad (host), Dumpster Divas. Miss Tati’s Angola70, Pål Aam, the Magic Company, Absence, Vilnes and Thousand and One Nights.

The Award Ceremony was followed by a torchlight procession.

Contact

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Kristine Gabrielsen

The Rafto Foundation, Communication Advisor
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Phone: 47756971
E-mail: kristine.gabrielsen@rafto.no

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