Six winners honoured with the Young Courage Award 2023

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute and Swedish embassies, the Raoul Wallenberg Academy is honouring six courageous young people with the Young Courage Award. This international award honours people between the ages of 13 and 20 who have made a difference in the lives of their fellow human beings.
Bild på vinnarna av Young Courage Award 2023.

The Young Courage Award is an annual non-political recognition to celebrate young people who have shown remarkable evidence of moral courage. This year’s recipients have been selected by proposals from the public, schools and embassies in France, Hungary Serbia, Spain, and Sweden.

– It is more important than ever to pay tribute to young people who strive for a more humane world. Like Raoul Wallenberg, their commitment serves as inspiration for all of us to act with courage for a more inclusive society, says Anna Urombi, Secretary General of the Raoul Wallenberg Academy.

– For a long time, SI and RWA have collaborated to make young people’s commitment to democracy and human rights visible across the world. By drawing attention to altruistic actions, we want to increase awareness about everyone’s ability to make a difference – be it big or small, says Madeleine Sjöstedt, Director General of the Swedish Institute.

The six recipients of the 2023 Young Courage Award are:

Enzo Rodriguez, France
When Enzo Rodriguez discovered a fire in a nearby building, he immediately called the fire department. He then ran to the neighbouring shops and fetched three fire extinguishers. He managed to get the fire under control while instructing the residents to stay indoors and wait for help. Enzo is being honoured for showing great courage and his decisive action in a crisis.

Marcell Mező, Hungary
Shortly after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria at the beginning of the year, Marcell Mező joined a group of volunteer aid workers. Together with his dog Black, which he trained in search and rescue techniques, Marcell took part in efforts to find survivors – sometimes in very difficult conditions. Macell is recognised for his genuine desire to help his fellow human beings in need.

Maša Vajdić, Serbia
Last winter, Maša Vajdić organised an inventive winter coat drive in her local park. Together with preschool students and parents, she collected many second-hand coats and then hung them on display in the surrounding trees. Publicity on local television helped spread news of the campaign, drawing many people in need to the park where they could receive quality coats to stay warm in winter. Maša is being honoured for her efforts to fight poverty in her community.

Lucia Ordoñez Ramirez, Spain
Every Friday, Lucía Ordoñez Ramírez and her friends create handcrafted gifts that they sell to raise funds for various volunteer groups. They also organise festivals and donate the ticket-sale proceeds to help build schools. Sometimes they go into Madrid and distribute food to the homeless. In addition to all this, Lucía spends her spare time visiting lonely elderly people. The jury recognises Lucía for the significant impact she makes on the lives of her fellow human beings.

Lamija Muharemovic, Sweden
Lamija Muharemovic co-founded A Sister Thing, a meeting place in the vulnerable area of Norrby in Borås that welcomes all girls no matter their background. They meet once a week and discuss important issues relating to relationships, friendship, school, work and the future. In 2022, Lamija also organised an election event to encourage young people to vote that was well-attended. Lamija is recognised for her vital commitment to young people, especially in regard to issues of democracy.

Yusuf Hussein, Sweden
Yusuf Hussein is a driven entrepreneur interested in the intersection between technology, innovation and creativity. Alongside his studies at KTH in Stockholm, he’s launched the Rise and Shoot photography program, which teaches visual communication to young people in the Järva area. Yusuf is being honoured for his ability to inspire young people and awaken their curiosity in photography.

Between 25 and 28 August, the prize winners will visit Stockholm and make a journey in Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg’s footsteps. On August 28, they will meet with Foreign Minister Tobias Billström at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The official award ceremony takes place at Musikaliska Kvarteret, Nybrokajen 11 at 3 pm on 27 August. This is Raoul Wallenberg’s Day, the national day for equal rights, and civil courage. It is the first national day in Sweden to commemorate and honour a civilian.

After returning home, the international recipients will serve as “Ambassadors for the Young Courage Award” and participate when embassies and consulates organize activities on civil courage, human rights or democracy.

The members of the jury 2023 were: Atilla Yoldaş, journalist, Beata Kull, entrepreneur and founder of an annual gala evening that awards teachers, Deqa Abukar, co-founder of BLING, a network for entrepreneurship, Elias Fjellander, chairman of The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (youth section), Jiloan Hamad, football player, Maja Kastlander and Noah Boivier, Raoul Wallenberg Differencemakers , Mira Kelber, chariman of The Jewish Youth Malmö, and Peter Rung, founder of an organization against domestic violence.

 About RWA

The organization was founded in 2001 by among others Nina Lagergren, Raoul Wallenberg’s sister. Every year, Raoul Wallenberg Academy engage tens of thousands of upper-secondary school youth in Sweden through leadership training, school programs in human rights and the yearly celebration of Raoul Wallenberg’s day on the 27th of August, Sweden’s national day for humanity and civil courage. The leadership shown by Raoul during World War II is more important today than ever.