Based in Budapest in the final stages of the war, Swedish war-time diplomat Raoul Wallenberg helped save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazi extermination camps. He set an example that inspires people to this day.
To honor this legacy, The Swedish Institute and Raoul Wallenberg Academy (RWA) are proud to introduce the Young Courage Award, an annual recognition to celebrate the true meaning of moral courage. It is given to young people 13 to 20 years old who, in the spirit of Wallenberg, have made a difference in the lives of their fellow people.
The initiative is a further development of RWA’s and SI’s ongoing collaboration, “The cube – Every human being can make a difference”, which aims to increase young people’s understanding of human rights and humanitarian obligations and brings together Swedish and international schoolchildren.
– For several years, SI and RWA have been engaged in “The cube program”. Now we take yet another step to shed light on young people’s commitment to democracy around the world. By paying attention to individual efforts and courageous actions, we want to increase awareness of everyone’s responsibility and what is at stake when human rights are violated or opposed, says Madeleine Sjöstedt, Director General of the Swedish Institute.
The nomination procedure takes place between 27 January and 15 March in collaboration with Swedish embassies and consulates who participated in the Cube program. This year’s pilot project involves Swedish embassies in Hungary, Spain and Serbia – with the hope that more countries will join in the coming years.
This year’s Swedish and international recipients will be announced in June. They will attend the official award ceremony in Stockholm in connection with Raoul Wallenberg’s day on the 27th of August and then make a journey together in Raoul’s footsteps. 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 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.
In the “Cube program”, participating schools in Sweden, Hungary, France, Serbia, among others, work with different aspects of human rights. Students decorate large cubes with their interpretations of the human rights. All cubes are gathered in a joint exhibition in Stockholm in August.