Marguerite Barankitse is distinguished for her courageous efforts on behalf of victims of ethnic conflict in Burundi. This compassionate woman has always used her fierce spirit of reconciliation and reconstruction to combat violence.
Founder of the Maison Shalom, the Cité des Anges (City of Angels), and the Rema hospital, Marguerite Barankitse has since 1994 welcomed Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa orphans, victims of the civil war that broke out in 1993 and killed over 250 000 people.
“Maggy” offers education, culture, and health care to children through the structures she has created. Thanks to teams of psychologists, educators, and many others, these are places of reconstruction and development for the children she shelters. It is through a warm approach infused with life that a new generation of citizens turned towards peace is coming into being. More than merely a method to be transformed into doctrine, Maggy embodies a “life path”.
The Prize endowment of 100,000 euros will allow her to pursue her work.
The Special Jury Prize honors another woman of courage: Louise Arbour, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals (ICT) for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Her aim was to render international justice effective and visible, especially today when it is more than ever at the center of democratic aspirations. Her efforts to this end have been decisive in greatly strengthening the International Criminal Court (ICC); notably through initiatives such as her “sealed indictments”, charges maintained non-public until the arrest of war criminals and perpetrators of genocide, be they senior political or military figures; as well as her efforts to increase media awareness about the work accomplished by the ICTs.
These Prizes aim to raise awareness of exemplary actions and to support and encourage vocations in the younger generation. Both will be officially awarded during the 3rd annual ceremony at the Quai Branly Museum on November 24, 2011, by Mr. Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former UN Secretary General, in the presence of the Prize Jury and the artist, Youssou N’Dour.