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Gold Medal for Human Rights

The Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal for Human Rights is a prestigious acknowledgement of an individual’s tireless commitment to human rights.

The Gold Medal is distinct from the Sydney Peace Prize, which is the Foundation’s preeminent accolade awarded once a year. The Sydney Peace Prize involves a year long process of a public call for nominations and deliberations by the Sydney Peace Prize Jury. The Gold Medal is presented occasionally and the decision to bestow a Gold Medal is made by the Sydney Peace Foundation Executive Council.

The Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal for Human Rights has been awarded on four occasions. The Foundation has in the past also extended special recognitions and certificates.

2013 – Stéphane Hessel

Gold Medal for Human Rights

hessel sydney peace medal smIn 2013 the Sydney Peace Foundation awarded a posthumous Gold Medal for Human Rights to Stéphane Hessel, former French resistance fighter, concentration camp survivor, co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and author of the ground breaking book, Time for Outrage.

On May 2nd, at the Australian Ambassador’s Residence in Paris, Ambassador Ric Wells presented the award to Christiane Hessel-Chabry, Hessel’s widow.

Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees, described Hessel as ‘a towering figure of 20th century resistance.’  Hessel insisted on respect for the universality of human rights and he inspired the Occupy Movement’s protest against what he called ‘the international dictatorship of the financial markets.’

To learn more and see pictures, click here.

2011 – Julian Assange

Gold Medal for Human Rights

The Sydney Peace Foundation has awarded its Gold Medal for peace with justice to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange. The citation reads, ‘For exceptional courage and initiative in pursuit of human rights’.

The Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees, has stated,

 ‘Assange’s work is in the Tom Paine Rights of Man and Daniel Ellsberg Pentagon Papers tradition- challenging the old order of power in politics and in journalism.
Assange has championed people’s right to know and has challenged the centuries old tradition that governments are entitled to keep the public in a state of ignorance. In the Paine, Ellsberg and Assange cases, those in power moved quickly to silence their critics even by perverting the course of justice’.

The Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal was awarded to Julian Assange at a ceremony in mid 2011. For more on Julian Assange’s award including a video of the ceremony at London’s Frontline Club, click here.

2009 – Daisaku Ikeda

Gold Medal for Human Rights

Stuart Rees and Daisaku Ikeda

Sydney Peace Foundation Executive Committe member Marie Whybourne presented an Sydney Peace Foundation Medal Daisaku Ikeda, the Japanese Buddhist philosopher, educator, writer and peace activist (seen here with Foundation Directory Professor Stuart Rees).

Dr Ikeda founded Soka Gakkai International, an organisation with ten million members world wide who share a philosophy which emphasises the value and dignity of all life and the responsibility of every individual to contribute to building a world where people of diverse cultures and faiths can live in peace.

2000 – Nelson Mandela

Special Recognition


Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, visited the Sydney Peace Foundation in 2000. The Sydney Peace Foundation gave Mandela special recognition at an informal engagement at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney. This acknowledgement predicated the process of establishing a more formal award.

2000 – Dr Stella Cornelius and Dr Faith Bandler


Dr Stella Cornelius, Nelson Mandela and Dr Faith BandlerDuring his time in Sydney, Mandela also presented Dr Stella Cornelius, founder of the Conflict Resolution Network, and Dr Faith Bandler, campaigner for indigenous rights in Australia, with certificates for their dedication and achievements in conflict resolution and education.

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