Alixandra Fazzina Wins 2010 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

A group of women and children fleeing conflict in Swat and Buner in Pakistan, wait to show their temporary refugee cards at a rice and oil distribution area in an old cigarette factory near Mardan. Photo by: Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR

The United Nations refugee agency has named British photojournalist Alixandra Fazzina this year’s winner of the Nansen Refugee Award.

The award is given to individuals or organizations for outstanding work on behalf of refugees. Fazzina earned the citation for her coverage of land mine victims in Kosovo, child abuse by militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape as a war weapon in Sierra Leone, civilians caught behind enemy lines in Angola, and refugee situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“By unearthing and so vividly portraying the individual stories of uprooted people she has achieved something remarkable,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres in a press release. “Her commitment, empathy and devotion to getting to the bottom of every story make her an exemplary chronicler of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Fazzina said she was “overwhelmed and absolutely delighted” in winning the award.

“I have always sought to bring greater attention to those forced to flee conflict, violence and misery,” Fazzina said. “To lose one’s home and have to start a new life is one of the greatest challenges anybody can face, yet millions every year have no other choice.”

The Nansen Refugee Award comes with a USD100,000 prize that Fazzina can donate to a cause of her choice. It was named after the first U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Fridtjof Nansen.

The award ceremony is slated for Oct. 5 in Geneva.

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.