We live in a period of global confusion and doubt, says Jakob von Uexkull, founder and chairman of the Right Livelihood Awards. "Practical, replicable projects dealing with the challenges facing us are few and far between. This award is for such projects, the cornerstones of a new world we can enjoy living in."
The Right Livelihood Award stimulates debate about the values underlying our society: What knowledge do we honor and support? The cash award of $250,000 is given to projects that serve as models of how to manifest the inherent wisdom that our species possesses. Among the world's most prestigious awards (according to the United Nations Development Forum), it is presented every December in the Swedish Parliament on the day before the Nobel Prize presentations.
The 1995 award is shared by two individuals and two organizations who are engaged in exemplary struggles for human rights, ethnic nondiscrimination, and democracy:
* The Serb Civic Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has worked in nonviolent political ways for a humane, multiethnic, democratic Bosnia-Herzegovina.
* András Biró; and the Hungarian Foundation for Self-Reliance for their resolute defense of Hungary's Roma (gypsy) minority and their effective efforts to aid self-development.
* Sulak Sivaraksa, one of Thailand's leading intellectuals and social reformers, who works for a sustainable path of development rooted in democracy, justice, and cultural integrity.
* Carmel Budiardjo, who for more than 20 years has campaigned for Indonesian political prisoners and the oppressed people of East Timor, upholding the universality of fundamental human rights.
The celebration honoring this year's winners is touched with sadness at the death of Ogoni tribal activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, one of last year's winners, at the hands of the Nigerian military government. His hanging in November was a grim reminder that many of those doing the work that could save our world do it at great risk.