Harry Belafonte, Malala Yousafzai to get Ambassador of Conscience Awards

Singer-activist Harry Belafonte is one of two 2013 recipients of Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award, along with teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
(Matthew Eisman / Getty Images for Seedlings Found)

Singer-actor-activist Harry Belafonte is one of two 2013 recipients of Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Awards to be handed out Tuesday in Dublin, Ireland, along with Pakistani teen human rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

U2 singer Bono and former Pink Floyd singer and songwriter Roger Waters will present Belafonte and Yousafzai with the organization’s highest award “recognizing individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their life and by example.”

“Since its birth, I have been devoted to the principles for which Amnesty International stands,” Belafonte, 86, said in a statement. “It is an honor to receive the recognition being bestowed. Amnesty International’s stand on any universal abuse to human rights has been courageous and is our moral compass.


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“I am especially honored to receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award because I am having the distinction of sharing this with Malala Yousafzai, a true hero of our time,” he continued. “My admiration for her is unending. She has awakened many in the global family to a commitment in struggle against tyranny. For all this I remain eternally grateful.”

In her own statement, Yousafzai said, “I am truly honored to receive this award and would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that there are many millions of children like me across the world who fight every single day for their right to go to school. I hope that by working together we will one day realize our dream of education for every child, in every corner of the world.”

Yousafzai, the 16-year-old whose diary for the BBC detailed the repercussions of the Taliban’s decision to terminate operations of girls’ schools in Pakistan, was shot and severely wounded in 2012 in an attack for which the Pakistani Taliban took credit.

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“Our two new Ambassadors of Conscience are different from each other in many ways, but they share a dedication to the fight for human rights everywhere and for all,” Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said, also in a statement. “Harry and Malala are truly Ambassadors of Conscience, speaking up for universal rights, justice and human dignity and inspiring others to follow their example.”

Previous Ambassador of Conscience Award recipients include Nelson Mandela, Peter Gabriel, U2 and the band’s manager, Paul McGuinness, and playwright-poet and former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel.


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