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Four Freedoms Award

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Four Freedoms Award
CountryUnited States
Ribbon of the award

The Four Freedoms Award is an annual award presented to "those men and women whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to those principles which US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed in his Four Freedoms speech to the United States Congress on January 6, 1941, as essential to democracy: "freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear". The annual award is handed out in alternate years in New York City by the Roosevelt Institute to Americans and in Middelburg, Netherlands, by the Roosevelt Stichting to non-Americans.


The awards were first presented in 1982 on the centennial of President Roosevelt's birth as well as the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Netherlands. The awards were founded to celebrate the Four Freedoms espoused by President Roosevelt in his speech:

  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Freedom of worship
  3. Freedom from want
  4. Freedom from fear

For each of the four freedoms an award was instituted, as well as a special Freedom medal. In 1990, 1995, 2003 and 2004 there were also special awards.

In odd years the awards are presented to American citizens or institutions by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York City, though in the past the American awards were given in Hyde Park, New York. In even years the award ceremony is held in Middelburg and honors non-Americans. The choice of Middelburg was motivated by the suspected descendance of the family Roosevelt from Oud-Vossemeer in the municipality Tholen.


Freedom Medal[edit]

One of the medals
Year Middelburg Photo Year Hyde Park Photo
1982 Princess Juliana of the Netherlands 1983 W. Averell Harriman
1984 Harold Macmillan 1985 Claude Pepper
1986 Alessandro Pertini 1987 Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.
1988 Helmut Schmidt 1989 William J. Brennan, Jr.
1990 Václav Havel and Jacques Delors 1991 Thurgood Marshall
1992 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar 1993 Cyrus Vance
1994 Dalai Lama 1995 Jimmy Carter
1996 Juan Carlos I of Spain 1997 Katharine Meyer Graham
1998 Mary Robinson 1999 Edward M. Kennedy
2000 Martti Ahtisaari 2001 W.W. II veterans as represented by
2002 Nelson Mandela 2003 George J. Mitchell
2004 Kofi Annan 2005 Bill Clinton
2006 Mohamed ElBaradei 2007 Carl Levin and Richard Lugar
2008 Richard von Weizsäcker 2009 Hillary Clinton
2010 European Court of Human Rights 2011 Russ Feingold
2012 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 2013 Wendell Berry
2014 Red Cross 2015 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
2016 Angela Merkel 2017 Harry Belafonte
2018 Christiana Figueres as representative of the Paris Climate Agreement 2019 Lonnie Bunch
2020 United Nations 2021 Fred Korematsu
2022 Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya 2023 Nancy Pelosi
2024 Save Ukraine 2025

Freedom of Speech[edit]

Dutch politician Max van der Stoel receives the Freedom of Speech award, 16 October 1982

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

— Roosevelt, January 6, 1941
Year Middelburg Year Hyde Park
1982 Max van der Stoel 1983 Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.
1984 Amnesty International 1985 Kenneth B. Clark
1986 El País 1987 Herbert Block
1988 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 1989 Walter Cronkite
1990 No Award 1991 James Reston
1992 Mstislav Rostropovich 1993 Arthur Miller
1994 Marion Dönhoff 1995 Mary McGrory
1996 John Hume 1997 Sidney R. Yates
1998 CNN 1999 John Lewis
2000 Bronisław Geremek 2001 The New York Times and the Ochs/Sulzberger Family
2002 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 2003 Studs Terkel
2004 Lennart Meri 2005 Tom Brokaw
2006 Carlos Fuentes 2007 Bill Moyers
2008 Lakhdar Brahimi 2009 Anthony Romero
2010 Novaya Gazeta 2011 Michael J. Copps
2012 Al Jazeera 2013 Paul Krugman
2014 Maryam Durani 2015 Arthur Mitchell
2016 Mazen Darwish 2017 Dan Rather
2018 Erol Önderoğlu 2019 The Boston Globe
2020 Maria Ressa 2021 Nikole Hannah-Jones
2022 Đỗ Nguyễn Mai Khôi 2023 Tracie Hall
2024 Bellingcat 2025
M. vd Stoel
J. Lewis
Dmitry Muratov on behalf of Novaya Gazeta

Freedom of Worship[edit]

Freedom of Worship, a painting of Norman Rockwell of 1943

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

— Roosevelt, January 6, 1941
Year Middelburg Year Hyde Park
1982 Willem A. Visser 't Hooft 1983 Coretta Scott King
1984 Werner Leich and Christiann F. Beyers Naudé 1985 Elie Wiesel
1986 Bernardus Alfrink 1987 Leon Sullivan
1988 Teddy Kollek 1989 Raphael Lemkin (posthumously) and Hyman Bookbinder
1990 László Tőkés 1991 Paul Moore, Jr.
1992 Terry Waite 1993 Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC
1994 Gerhart M Riegner 1995 Andrew Young
1996 Lord Runcie 1997 William H. Gray
1998 Desmond Tutu 1999 Corinne C. Boggs
2000 Cicely Saunders 2001 Johnnie Carr
2002 Nasr Abu Zayd 2003 Robert F. Drinan
2004 Sari Nusseibeh 2005 Cornel West
2006 Taizé Community 2007 Peter J. Gomes
2008 Karen Armstrong 2009 Eboo Patel
2010 Asma Jahangir 2011 Rev. Barry W. Lynn
2012 Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople 2013 Simone Campbell
2014 Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan 2015 Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II
2016 Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Omar Kobine Layama and Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou 2017 Rev. Dr. Steve Stone and Dr. Bashar A. Shala
2018 Paride Taban 2019 Krista Tippett
2020 Religions for Peace International 2021 Raphael Warnock
2022 Lian Gogali [id] 2023 Dr. Walter Earl Fluker
2024 Zumretay Arkin 2025
C. King
E. Wiesel
B. Alfrink
Bartholomew I

Freedom from Want[edit]

Freedom from Want of painter Norman Rockwell of 1943

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

— Roosevelt, January 6, 1941
Year Middelburg Year Hyde Park
1982 H. Johannes Witteveen 1983 Robert S. McNamara
1984 Liv Ullmann 1985 John Kenneth Galbraith
1986 F. Bradford Morse 1987 Mary Lasker
1988 Halfdan T. Mahler 1989 Dorothy I. Height
1990 Emile van Lennep 1991 Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
1992 Jan Tinbergen 1993 Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver
1994 Sadako Ogata 1995 Lane Kirkland
1996 Médecins Sans Frontières 1997 Mark O. Hatfield
1998 Stéphane Hessel 1999 George S. McGovern
2000 M. S. Swaminathan 2001 March of Dimes
2002 Gro Harlem Brundtland 2003 Dolores Huerta
2004 Marguerite Barankitse 2005 Marsha J. Evans
2006 Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank 2007 Barbara Ehrenreich
2008 Jan Egeland 2009 Vicki Escarra
2010 Maurice Strong 2011 Jacqueline Novogratz
2012 Ela Bhatt 2013 Coalition of Immokalee Workers
2014 Hawa Abdi Diblaawe 2015 Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade
2016 Dr. Denis Mukwege 2017 Ai-jen Poo
2018 Emmanuel de Merode 2019 Franklin A. Thomas
2020 Sander de Kramer [nl] 2021 Deepak Bhargava
2022 Nice Nailantei Leng'ete 2023 Ady Barkan
2024 Sônia Guajajara 2025
R. McNamara
M. Lasker
M. Yunus
E. Bhatt

Freedom from Fear[edit]

Freedom from Fear of Norman Rockwell of 1943

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.

— Roosevelt, January 6, 1941
Year Middelburg Year Hyde Park
1982 J. Herman van Roijen 1983 Jacob K. Javits
1984 Brian Urquhart 1985 Isidor Rabi
1986 Olof Palme (posthumously) 1987 George Kennan
1988 Armand Hammer 1989 J. William Fulbright
1990 Simon Wiesenthal 1991 Mike Mansfield
1992 Lord Carrington 1993 George Ball
1994 Zdravko Grebo 1995 Elliot Richardson
1996 Shimon Peres 1997 Daniel K. Inouye
1998 Craig Kielburger 1999 Robert O. Muller
2000 Louise Arbour 2001 W.W. II veterans as represented by
2002 Ernesto Zedillo 2003 Robert C. Byrd
2004 Max Kohnstamm 2005 Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas Kean
2006 Aung San Suu Kyi 2007 Brent Scowcroft
2008 Willemijn Verloop - War Child 2009 Pasquale J. D'Amuro
2010 Gareth Evans 2011 Bryan A. Stevenson
2012 Hussain al-Shahristani 2013 Ameena Matthews
2014 Malala Yousafzai 2015 The Nation
2016 Human Rights Watch 2017 Cristina Jiménez Moreta
2018 Urmila Chaudhary 2019 Sandy Hook Promise
2020 Leoluca Orlando 2021 Worker Rights Activists for the Excluded Workers Fund
2022 ÜniKuir 2023 Bennie Thompson
2024 Grace Forrest 2025
W. Fulbright
B. Muller
L. Arbour
Aung San S.

Special presentations[edit]

1984 Simone Veil (Centennial Award) 2002 William vanden Heuvel 2005 BBC World Service
1990 Mikhail Gorbachev 2003 Arthur Schlesinger Jr. 2005 Mary Soames
1995 Jonas Salk 2004 Anton Rupert 2006 Mike Wallace
1995 Ruud Lubbers 2004 Bob Dole 2008 Forrest Church
Simone Veil
M. Gorbachev
R. Lubbers
M. Soames
F. Church

See also[edit]


  • Roosevelt Institute, List of laureates
  • NOS (2008) TV documentary on the Four Freedoms Award
  • Oosthoek, A.L. (2010) Roosevelt in Middelburg: the four freedoms awards 1982-2008, ISBN 978-9079875214
  • American Rhetoric, Four Freedoms Speech of Roosevelt

External links[edit]