Theodor Wanner Award

Award Winner 2016: Human Rights Watch

Refugee children peer in through the window at the International Medical Corps (IMC) facility in the Domiz Camp for Syrian Refugees near Dohuk, Iraq on Nov. 22, 2013; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2013
A Syrian refugee, Muna, 16, makes a phone call outside her family tent located in the desert of Ereinbeh, Jordan on Nov. 14, 2013; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2013
Reem, 13, with her siblings in her family tent at the Al Za’atri refugee camp for Syrians, near Mafraq, Jordan on Nov. 18, 2013. Reem is suffering from mental health issues. She has been living at the Za’atri camp since January 2013; © Foto: Ed Kashi
Children gather in an enclave of tents at the Al Za’atri refugee camp for Syrians near Mafraq, Jordan on Nov. 25, 2013; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2013
A young girl enjoys a lollipop while watching shoppers in the Domiz Camp for Syrian Refugees in Dohuk, Iraq on Nov. 23, 2013; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2013
A sugarcane worker, 29, suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease of non-traditional causes, CKDnT, poses for a portrait in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua on Jan. 7, 2015; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2015
A former cane worker, 29, poses with his father, 58, in the cane fields of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Both men suffer from CKDu; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2015
© Photos: Ed Kashi
A former cane worker, 67, in the fields that he worked in for 25 years, in Chichigalpa, on April 25, 2014. He is sick with CKDu and after he spoke out against one of the worker organizations, he has stopped receiving food provisions; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 20
A cane worker slices through the burnt stalks of sugar cane in a field in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua on May 1, 2014; © Foto: Ed Kashi, 2014

The award ceremony will take place on 21 June 2016 in Berlin.
Laudatory speech: Dr. Bärbel Kofler, Member of the German Parliament and Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) defends human rights worldwide. Investigation, revelation, change – the independent non-governmental organization (NGO) discloses the violation of human rights and urges governments and other decision makers the stop illegimate practices and to respect international Human Rights. For more than 30 years the organization based in New York works on establishing legal and moral principles for a sustainable change and on demanding justice and security for all people worldwide. Human Rights Watch is exclusively financed by donations by private persons and foundations. Since 1993 Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director. He will accept the in the name of the organization.

Award Winners

Photo: Wolfgang Borrs

Ernesto Cardenal / 2014

Poet, theologian, freedom fighter, former Culture Minister of Nicaragua
"This spaceship needs a change of course"

Photo: © Earl McGehee

Yoko Ono / 2013

Artist, musician, activist

Dr. h.c. Jacques Delors

Jacques Delors / 2011

Former president of the European Commission

Carla del Ponte

Carla del Ponte / 2010

Former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court and former Swiss Ambassador

Dr. h. c. Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim / 2009

General music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Since 2009, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) has conferred the Theodor Wanner Award to those who significantly contribute or have contributed their scientific, social, socio-political, artistic, entrepreneurial or financial expertise to foster dialogue among cultures. The award was launched at the initiative of the Friends of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen. The patron of the Theodor Wanner Award is the Foreign Minister of Germany.

Theodor Wanner

Theodor Wanner (1875-1955) was a Stuttgart citizen, patron of the arts, patriarch and at the same time a busy manager. His name is synonymous with bourgeois, Swabian entrepreneurship. Motivated by his own experience abroad, he founded and established countless cultural initiatives, such as the Württembergische Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (Association of Württemberg Patron of the Arts) and the Deutsches Ausland-Institut (German Foreign Institute, DAI), the predecessor to today's Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa). Theodor Wanner was the long-year chairman of the Handelsgeographischer Verein (Association of Trade Geography), which gave rise to the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde (State Museum of Ethnology), today the Linden Museum, in Stuttgart.
Theodor Wanner is an embodiment of lasting, personal commitment to cultural dialogue.


The donates the prize money of 10,000 euros, which are appropriated to a project chosen by the winner. The award winners are honoured in a ceremony. The trophy was designed by Axel Kufus, professor for creation and development in design at the Berlin University of the Arts.


The award winners are selected by a majority vote of the jury, which includes among others the directors of the Friends of ifa and ifa itself. The jury is free to choose as it wishes.

Current jury members include:

  • Ursula Seiler-Albring, ifa President
  • Stephan Brübach, Chairman of the Friends of ifa
  • Bernt Graf zu Dohna, ifa Vice President and Member of the Friends of ifa
  • Otto Ruthenberg, Member of the ifa executive board and Daimler AG
  • Ronald Grätz, ifa Secretary General

Suggestions can be made by among others members of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), members of Friends of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, the advisory boards, and ifa employees.

"Where human rights are being trampled underfoot we must criticise and look for ways to resolve issues and help people. We must also support those who are brave enough to speak out against injustice in their countries and who demand involvement and participation. We have an absolute constitutional and ethical obligation to do so."
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier