Forum 2000 International Award for Courage and Responsibility

About the Award

With the vision of recognizing extraordinary civic courage and actions that prioritize responsibility to the wider community, defense of democracy, and promotion of human rights and civil liberties over self-interest, the Forum 2000 Foundation established the International Award for Courage and Responsibility in 2021. The Award is given to citizens, or institutions selected in a three-stage process, involving the opinions of a rich variety of significant personalities of the Forum 2000 community.

“Each and every one of us can come to realize that he or she - no matter how insignificant or helpless they may feel - is in a position to change the world.” Václav Havel, 1986. 

3rd Forum 2000 International Award for Courage and Responsibility (2023)

The 3rd Forum 2000 International Award for Courage and Responsibility was awarded to Vladimir Kara-Murza. Due to Vladimir´s imprisonment, his wife, Yevgenia Kara-Murza received the award on his behalf.


  • 2023 - Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian opposition politician, author, and historian, who received a 25-year sentence for openly condemning Russia´s actions in Ukraine
  • 2022 - Zhang Zhan, Chinese citizen journalist and former lawyer who reported on COVID-19, questioned the handling of the crisis, and was consequently unjustly imprisoned
  • 2021 - Carl Gershman, lifelong defender of democracy, human rights activist, and former President of the National Endowment for Democracy. 

Goal of the Award 

The Award provides an opportunity to recognize the remarkable acts and achievements of its recipients, as well as to send out clear signal that freedom and democracy are not to be taken for granted but need to be constantly fought for.

Selection Procedure

The winner is selected in a three-stage process, involving the members of the Forum 2000 community. The Nomination Committee consists of the members of the Forum 2000 Foundation's Advisory Board, members of the International Coalition for Democratic Renewal, participants in the Democratic Solidarity project, and former speakers at Forum 2000 conferences. The second stage involves the Forum 2000 Foundation Program Council which selects three finalists from the nominee list. The final, third stage involves the Forum 2000 Foundation Board of Directors, who select the winner of the Award from the finalist list. The award is announced at the annual Forum 2000 conference, where, if possible, the recipient is present.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Citizens, groups of citizens, or institutions that have through their work made a lasting and meaningful contribution to their community
  • Personalities or groups that stand out in protecting human rights or/and defending and strengthening democratic institutions
  • People or organizations that have performed acts of extraordinary civic courage or acts, in which the good of the community was clearly put above self-interest
  • Self-nominations are not eligible

Author of the Sculpture

The author of the sculpture that is given to the winners of the Forum 2000 International Award for Responsibility and Courage each year is the leading Czech sculptor, designer, and professor Rony Plesl (1965), who ranks among top internationally acknowledged artists in the field of glass sculpture. Plesl is Professor of Design and Architecture andHead of the Studio of Glass at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. He received multiple awards for his work: Good Design Award (2019, 2013, 2010), Red Dot Award (2019, 2007), Czech Grand Design (2011), and others.

Selection of photographs from previous years

Previous years of the Forum 2000 International Award for Courage and Responsibility