Adamowicz Award 2022 Laureate
The municipality of Michałowo in Poland has been honoured with the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award for the help it has provided refugees at the border with Belarus. The award, which was created to promote the legacy built up by Paweł Adamowicz during his 20 years as mayor of Gdańsk, was announced at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 13 January and was presented to the Mayor of Michałowo Marek Nazarko at the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 8 February.
The ceremony included statements by:
- Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs
- Magdalena Adamowicz (PL/EPP), Member of the European Parliament
- Aleksandra Dulkiewicz (PL/EPP), Mayor of Gdańsk
- Marek Nazarko (PL), Mayor of Michałowo
- Henriette Reker (DE), Mayor of Cologne
- Oleksandr Slobozhan, Executive Director of the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC), on behalf of Oleksandr Babych (UA), Mayor of Hola Prystan
- Christopher Gribble, Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN)
- Vincenzo Bianco (IT/PES), Chair of the CIVEX commission of the CoR
The award recognises the life-saving support that Michałowo and its population provided to migrants who found themselves stranded between Poland and Belarus after the Polish government in September 2021 imposed a state of emergency in response to Belarus's sponsorship of illegal migration. The local administration of Michałowo, which lies very close to Poland's border with Belarus, provided clothing, warm meals and overnight accommodation for those in need, with support also from non-governmental organisations. Temporary housing provided by the local administration in Bondary, a village near the border, has also served families from Ukraine since the outbreak of war.
The jury also decided to give a special mention to Oleksandr Babich, Mayor of Hola Prystan in the south of Ukraine, who has been held captive since March 2022 for trying to protect his local community. This special mention is given to Oleksandr Babich as a representative of all Ukrainian mayors who have been kidnapped or tortured since the start of the Russian invasion.
The shortlisted nominees were (in the alphabetical order):
Mayor of Hola Prystan in the south of Ukraine, representing all Ukrainian mayors who have been kidnapped or tortured since the start of the Russian invasion. He has been held captive for six months for trying to protect his local community
Mayor of Mariupol, for his support for displaced persons after the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and his ongoing work in supporting the residents of Mariupol who have left the city following the most recent Russian invasion
(represented by the Association of Ukrainian cities) The nomination is for all courageous mayors of Ukraine who during the brutal and unjustified military aggression by Russia have promoted freedom, democratic values, solidarity and fight against intolerance and hate-speech.
- The municipality of Michałowo, Podlaskie Voïvodeship, Poland,
for providing assistance to refugees at the border with Belarus and for creating a Help Point, providing clothing, warm meals and overnight accommodation for those in need
European humanitarian organisation, nominated for helping to protect lives of migrants in the Mediterranean, the world's most dangerous migration route;
Adamowicz Award 2021 Laureate
The first Laureate of the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award iswas
Henriette Reker, the
Lord Mayor of Cologne in Germany.
The Award Jury conferred the honour on Ms Reker in recognition of her extraordinary dedication and work in her city in promoting tolerance, inclusiveness, and the integration and non-discrimination of citizens with migrant backgrounds, whilst fighting hate-speech and xenophobia. Amongst the many personal and professional challenges she has faced in carrying out this work, she survived a near-fatal xenophobia-motivated knife attack in October 2015.
Mayor Paweł Adamowicz focused his activities on fostering solidarity, the integration of migrants and minorities, dialogue with civil society, and the promotion of fundamental rights on the ground. He was first elected as Mayor of Gdańsk in 1998, and served the city in that position until his assassination on 13 January 2019.
The establishment of this Award is an homage to and recognition of everyone who works with courage and integrity against intolerance, radicalisation, hate-speech, oppression and xenophobia. Those who promote equal opportunities, social integration and fundamental rights. Those who are inspired by and carry on the legacy of Paweł Adamowicz.
It honours those around the world who build bridges and tear down walls, with a clear sense of responsibility for future generations – people who pave the way for societal changes in favour of the weakest, not shying away from any urgent battle for human rights and civil liberties, locally, nationally or internationally.
The Award presents Mayor Paweł Adamowicz's legacy to a wider audience, with the aim of inspiring local and regional politicians throughout Europe and beyond to build upon the work he started.
More about the life and work of Paweł Adamowicz.