ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures

About the ifa Award

With the ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures, ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen recognises the contribution of individuals and institutions to fostering transcultural relations through their social, socio-political or artistic work.

Supporting the freedom of the arts, civil society and science are key elements of ifa's mission. Today, these freedoms are increasingly under threat, with nationalism, populism and authoritarian tendencies just some of the challenges they face, even in democracies. Since 2009, the ifa Award has sent out a clear signal in support of human rights, democracy, peace, and freedom for artists, scientists and civil society actors. These values are also an integral part of the statutes of ifa.

The winners donate the 10,000-euro prize money to a cultural, charitable and peace-building project or organisation of their choice. The ifa Award was initiated by the ifa Friends' Association.

Until 2019, the award was named after Theodor Wanner (1875-1955), who initiated the establishment of the Deutsches Ausland-Institut (DAI), today's ifa, in 1917 (History of ifa).


ifa Award 2022: Osman Kavala

Human rights activist, cultural patron and businessman Osman Kavala, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey, is presented with this year's ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures.

The award ceremony took place at the Allianz Forum in Berlin on 10 November 2022. Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, Member of the German Bundestag and former President of the Bundestag, delivered  the laudatory speech.

Laudator and former President of the German Bundestag Dr Wolfgang Schäuble:

Even in free societies, coordination between state and private cultural funding is vital to democratic discourse; in a system that often seeks to appropriate art and culture for itself and its propagandistic purposes, the contribution of patrons like Kavala cannot be valued highly enough. In such repressive systems, the private promotion of art and culture is in demand more than ever as a breeding ground for mature, critical and free thinking.

Osman Kavala emerged as a leading player in Turkish civil society during the 1990s. In 2002, he co-founded Anadolu Kültür, which brings together the arts, business, and civil society to support local initiatives, highlight cultural diversity, and strengthen international collaboration.

Organisations such as Amnesty International Germany, Reporters without Borders, the PEN Centre Germany, the Academy of Arts or the KulturForum TürkeiDeutschland have been campaigning for his dismissal for years. In Turkey itself, ten ambassadors from Germany, the USA, Canada, New Zealand as well as Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the three Scandinavian countries Sweden, Finland and Norway demanded Kavala's dismissal last autumn.

Osman Kavala has selected the organisation Rengarenk Umutlar Derneği ("Colourful Hope Association") to receive a grant of 10,000 euros. The association has campaigned for many years for the rights and freedoms of children in south-eastern Turkey. It has set itself the goal of helping children affected by the recent conflicts in the Sur district in the province of Diyarbakır to cope with their traumas.

Photo Gallery Award Ceremony 2022

Previous Winners of the ifa Award

2019: Federica Mogherini

  • Laureate: Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
  • Laudatory speech: Heiko Maas, former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Recipient of the prize money: Rondine Cittadella della Pace

2017: Silvia von Schweden

  • Laureate: Silvia, Queen of Sweden
  • Laudatory speech: Sigmar Gabriel, former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Recipient of the prize money: Sociedade Beneficente Alemã

2016: Human Rights Watch

  • Laureate: Human Rights Watch, independent non-governmental organization
  • Laudatory speech: Dr. Bärbel Kofler, former Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid
  • Recipient of the prize money: Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

2014: Ernesto Cardenal

  • Laureate: Ernesto Cardenal, politician and theologian
  • Laudatory speech: Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, former President of the German Bundestag
  • Recipient of the prize money: Pan y Arte / Solentiname

2013: Yoko Ono

  • Laureate: Yoko Ono, artist
  • Laudatory speech: Dr. Guido Westerwelle, former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Recipient of the prize money: PAWA254

2011: Jacques Delors

  • Laureate: Dr. h.c. Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission
  • Laudatory speech: Dr. h. c. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Recipient of the prize money: Notre Europe

2010: Carla del Ponte

  • Laureate: Carla del Ponte, lawyer
  • Laudatory speech: Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Jutta Limbach, former President of the Federal Constitutional Court
  • Recipient of the prize money: Fondazione Falcone

2009: Daniel Barenboim

  • Laureate: Dr. h. c. Daniel Barenboim, conductor
  • Laudatory speech: Dr. h.c. Joschka Fischer, former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • Recipient of the prize money: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra