Geneva Call’s Executive President is awarded the 2016 Fondation pour Genève Prize
6 October 2016
On 6 October 2016, the Fondation pour Genève awarded Elisabeth Decrey Warner the 2016 Fondation pour Genève Prize at a ceremony in Geneva.
Around 600 people attended the event, including the General Director of the United Nations Office in Geneva, the Swiss and Genevan authorities, as well as representatives from various diplomatic missions. This distinction rewards her work with Geneva Call, an organization dedicated to improving the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
As pointed out by Irina Bokova—Director-General of UNESCO—who gave a speech in her honour: “I know Elisabeth and I also measure the impact of her long-standing action in some of the toughest situations. Elisabeth Decrey Warner is a fervent advocate of human rights and dignity, a tireless ambassador of cooperation and dialogue for peace—these are values that lie at the heart of Geneva, of its history and its citizens.”
Since 1976, the Fondation pour Genève Prize has honoured individuals for their contribution to reinforcing Geneva’s international standing in the fields of science, politics, economics, culture and humanitarian action. It has previously been awarded to leading figures such as Didier Burkhalter, then president of the Swiss Confederation, Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, or Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
With armed conflicts multiplying and civilian populations suffering the disastrous consequences of war more than ever before, the Fondation pour Genève wished to honour a committed woman whose unremitting efforts to engage with armed groups have revitalized humanitarian dialogue and improved the plight of the populations concerned.
“Obviously, it is an honour to receive such a prize, but, more importantly, it is an encouragement to pursue our work, not only for me but also for all my colleagues from Geneva Call. Engaging with all the actors involved in conflicts, including armed groups, has never been more important than today. There is no doubt that this prize will give real meaning and significant impetus to our action,” emphasized Elisabeth Decrey Warner.
The laureate has been the Executive President of Geneva Call, a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the protection of civilians in armed conflict, since she co-founded it in 2000. Geneva Call is a unique organization in that its primary mission it to engage with armed groups. It helps and encourages them to commit to respecting humanitarian norms, and invites them to sign agreements aimed at reducing the effects of war on civilians.