Dag Hammarskjöld Inspiration Award


The Board of Directors established the Inspiration Award in 2006 to honor Dag Hammarskjöld – one of the most esteemed international civic servants of the 20th Century whose personal beliefs, cultural interests and leadership skills have served as an inspiration to many.

Hammarskjöld was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life and left a lasting legacy. As second Secretary-General of the United Nations he guided this august body into an international force for peace, justice and progress.

Hammarskjöld combined intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic interests with the political in his public life. He put the secretary-general’s office on the map as a major player in world affairs and dangerous times during the Cold War. He devised the United Nations first complex peacekeeping mission. It was that commitment that led him to the Congo in September 1961 and to a final rendezvous with destiny.

Inspiration Award Recipients

2006 – Ambassador Jan Eliasson, a life-long diplomat, former Foreign Minister of Sweden and former Ambassador to the United States and United Nations; now U.N. Deputy Secretary-General.

2007 – Sir Roger Moore, a dedicated UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for over 20 years.

2008 – Senator Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation/Better World Fund and lifelong environmentalist.

2009 – Actress Emma Thompson and Helen Bamber of the Bamber Foundation for their work on behalf of victims of torture and trafficking.

2010 – Sir Brian Urquhart, former U.N. under-secretary general, author and contemporary of Dag Hammarskjöld, for his decades of service and recognition as the father of modern U.N. peacekeeping.

2011 – Her Majesty Queen Noor, activist for world peace and justice. Her peace-building work on conflict prevention and recovery issues has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

2011 – Actress Mia Farrow, UNICEF goodwill ambassador and human rights activist who has focused her attention on children and families in conflict zones, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

2012 – Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, and an expert on economic development, the fight against poverty and the environment.

2013 – Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, for her many years of service and leadership in international affairs and championing women’s issues.

2014 – Ms. Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-14) for her championship of human rights around the globe, speaking truth to power and never shying away from controversy.

2015 – Lang Lang, renowned pianist and UN Messenger of Peace, for his compassion and commitment to bettering the lives of children.

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Although the Fund is based at the United Nations, it does not receive financial support from the world organization. The Fund’s program for journalists relies entirely on financial support from U.N. Missions, foundations, organizations and individuals.