Click here to get an automatic translation of the text below.
Paweł Adamowicz Award will honour those who fight for freedom and solidarity and combat intolerance, oppression and xenophobia  

The European Committee of the regions, with the International Cities of Refuge Network and the city of Gdańsk, announce the launch of the Award to honour the memory of the mayor of Gdańsk and member of the CoR, murdered in 2019

The European Committee of the Regions, together with the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and the city of Gdańsk, announced today, at the presence of Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson , the creation of the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award. The award - named after Paweł Adamowicz, mayor of Gdańsk and member of the CoR, murdered in 2019 - will honour those who fight for freedom and solidarity, and against intolerance, oppression and xenophobia.

The aim of the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award is to develop his legacy in the spirit of ICORN's core mission: advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values, and promoting international solidarity. The establishment of this Award is an act of homage and recognition of everyone who works with courage and integrity against intolerance, radicalisation, hate speech, oppression and xenophobia, and who works to promote equal opportunities, social integration and fundamental rights.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas , President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the region of Central Macedonia, said: " We will never forget the passion and the dedication of Paweł Adamowicz for his community and for the protection he gave to those in need. With this Award we wish to encourage local and regional actors to keep fighting radicalization, hate speech and discrimination in their communities ."

Ylva Johansson , European Commissioner for Home Affairs, described Paweł Adamowicz as "a local leader and a European leader, who stood for freedom and his values, first as a young man against communism, later by supporting the rights of refugees and LBTQ people, often against strong opposition, even hate ". She praised the initiative to create a memorial to his memory, saying that it is necessary "to recognise the work of local leaders who welcome refugees into their communities, who work for tolerance, freedom, fundamental rights and social inclusion, who deserve to be in the spotlight, who need to be in the spotlight". She included strong support for local leaders, telling local and regional leaders that "you are best placed to make the difference, in the villages, towns and regions, in the streets, schools and neighbourhoods of Europe. Because that’s where you find the heart of our communities, the heart of our continent and the heart of our European Union. Acting local does not mean acting alone."

Magdalena Adamowicz , Member of the European Parliament and Paweł Adamowicz’s widow, said : "Today, the fight for equality for every human being becomes a fight for the European Union. Equality is the very foundation of our community, without which the existence of the Union will not be possible. We need courage to defend equality and freedom, because this is where the anti-democrats strike. They know that cutting us off from European values will be like cutting a tree from its roots. My husband knew this and this is why he defended our roots, the values of humanitarianism and democracy with such courage. The Paweł Adamowicz Award will remind us - Europeans - that peace and prosperity depend on cooperation, and cooperation needs mutual trust and respect, and respect is possible only when everyone is treated equally and with dignity."

The Mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz , said: "Gdańsk shares the good." These are the last words of Paweł Adamowicz, who was building a better world in spite of insensitivity, intolerance, hatred and violence. And we do the same - we share the good. Not only with our loved ones, not only with Gdańsk citizens. Solidarity and freedom are the values ​​that have shaped Gdańsk and today’s need for real action and support for those whose rights are violated. And it doesn't matter where they come from, who they love, and who they pray to. We can see much more in our guests than just immigrants in need. For us, it is an opportunity to get to know them as artists, equal partners, valuable personalities, and simply as neighbors who are worth caring for and with whom it is worth to create a common future. "

Executive Director of ICORN, Helge Lunde said: "ICORN works from the conviction that cities can be important actors for human rights and freedom of expression. Over the past years we’ve created a network of safe havens offering sanctuary for persecuted writers and artists from worldwide, and the values of hospitality, creativity and solidarity become further enshrined in the ethos of the city. Mayor Paweł Adamowicz fought for freedom and solidarity throughout his life and career. He borught Gdańsk into ICORN, hence contributing to the promotion of the values he stood for is important to our network. We congratulate the EU Committee of the Regions with the launch of the award in his name on 19 March, and together with the City of Gdansk we look forward a lot to taking part in implementing its first edition."

The Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award will be conferred on a city leader, civic leader, organizations working in partnership with local and regional authorities, that, following the example of Mayor Adamowicz, builds bridges and tears down walls, with a clear sense of innovation and responsibility for future generations; paving the way for societal changes in favour of the weakest, not shying from any urgent battle for human rights and civil liberties, locally, nationally or internationally.

Paweł Adamowicz was stabbed on 13 January 2019 while speaking at a charity event. He died from his injuries the following day. He was 53 years old. His murder was preceded by a rise in hate speech directed at him. His death prompted a debate about the contribution of a degeneration of public discourse to violence, extremism, propaganda and intolerance.

Mr Adamowicz was committed to promoting the fundamental values of the EU, and he was an active member of the European Committee of the Regions. In 2016, Mayor Adamowicz launched the Gdańsk 'Immigrant Integration Model' after meeting Pope Francis. It has served as a model that inspired other Polish cities.

Background:

  • The European Committee of the Regions, as the political assembly of local and regional politicians in the EU, on the initiative of the Polish delegation, unanimously adopted, on 7 February 2019, a resolution condemning hate speech and threats of all kinds against political leaders.

  • The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an international organisation of 75 cities and regions in Europe and beyond, offering safe haven to persecuted writers and artists, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. More than 250 writers and artists have been offered residency in an ICORN city. In a safe environment, they continue to play a vital role, both in highlighting violations of human rights and freespeech in their home countries, and in supporting colleagues in their country of origin. Mayor Pawel Adamowicz brought the City of Gdańsk into ICORN on 30 August 2017.

By joining ICORN, the cities become part of a dynamic and global network of solidarity and creativity. ICORN connects and cooperates with relevant public institutions and civil-society organisations that are active in the field of human rights, culture, arts and migration, as well as governmental and inter-governmental bodies, locally and internationally.

Webstreaming links: On the website of the CoR.

Contact:

European Committee of the Regions

Wioletta Wojewodzka

Tel. +32 (0)2 282 2289

Mobile: +32 (0)473 843 986

wioletta.wojewodzka@cor.europa.eu

City of Gdańsk

Maciej Buczkowski

Tel.: + 48 58 323 62 84

maciej.buczkowski@gdansk.gda.pl

International Cities of Refuge Network

Helge Lunde

Tel.: + 47 51 50 71 25

helge@icorn.org