Henley & Partners, the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for its prestigious annual Global Citizen Award. The laureate will be presented the award at a Gala Dinner around the 10th annual Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in November in London.
Once a year, Henley & Partners honors an inspirational global citizen who has made extraordinary achievements in improving the global community. The Global Citizen Award consists of a specially made commemorative medal, an Award Certificate signed by the President of the Award Committee and a USD 50,000 monetary prize, of which USD 25,000 is donated to UNHCR to support the global refugee cause.
Last year, Antonio Nocera’s artwork graced the 2015 Global Citizen Award commemorative medal presented to Harald Höppner, a German entrepreneur and founder of the refugee aid project Sea Watch. Nocera, master of sculpture, is an Italian internationally renowned artist with a strong focus on the plight of refugees and raising awareness of their situation.
Themes of peace and freedom have dominated Nocera’s long career, which has encompassed important exhibitions and collaborations with institutions including UNHCR, UNESCO, the European Parliament and the Italian Ministry of Culture.
Echoing Nocera’s focus on the plight of refugees is Höppner, who in November 2014 purchased a fishing boat together with his colleague Matthias Kuhnt, and began to patrol the Mediterranean Sea out of growing concern for the number of refugee boats capsizing in the waters.
In June 2015, after nearly six months of planning, preparation and renovations, the boat, now named Sea Watch, began to provide rescue efforts and first aid to refugees off the Libyan coast, rescuing 600 people in their first mission alone.
The project’s concept is simple: to notify the Coast Guard when they spot a migrant boat in distress. If the authorities do not arrive in time, Sea Watch will take action. The vessel is equipped with first aid kits, drinking water and life boats, as well as satellite phones.
The Gala Dinner was aimed at supporting refugees, and it served as an important fundraising initiative. This came after the UNHCR launched an emergency appeal in September, in response to the growing humanitarian crisis unfolding in Europe. In 2015 alone, more than 780,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea, the majority being refugees fleeing conflict, violence and persecution. Over 3,500 persons lost their lives in their attempts to reach Europe.
Höppner says, “I accept the Global Citizen Award on behalf of Sea Watch and all the people of our young, non-governmental organization. One hundred per cent of the prize money will go to Sea Watch to help save lives in the Mediterranean Sea.”