Edward Snowden
In February 2016 Edward Snowden delivered the laudatory speech for Daniel Ellsberg via Skype.


Michail Gorbatschow
Laureate Michail Gorbachev with Hans-Dietrich Genscher

Laureate 2010
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Michail Gorbachev

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Gerhart Baum):

The world, Mr Gorbachev, has a lot to thank you for. And for that you have received many accolades and awards. The Nobel Peace Prize is just one of many examples. We Germans also thank you for your bravery to overcome the East-West divide of the world. For many people you represented a beacon of hope in the final phase of the GDR – also, here in Dresden when my friends in the peace movement made an appeal to you. They encouraged the people to overcome their fears and to fight for freedom in a peaceful revolution. It was the only revolution for freedom in our entire history, which has been a success.

You, Mr Gorbachev, in all these years, have stayed true to your convictions. We are gathered here today to honour you for that.

We, the citizens of Dresden, owe an immense debt of gratitude to you.

Daniel Barenboim
Laureate Daniel Barenboim

Laureate 2011
Daniel Barenboim, conductor and pianist

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Richard von Weizsäcker):

His most impressive and biggest step was the founding of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. It was the decisive invitation for young Israelis and Palestinians to experience music together and to learn to play with each other, and to get involved more deeply with each other, exchanging experiences, trying to recognize the other person’s fate, not sparing themselves while gradually experiencing vicariously how painful it is what both sides have done to one another and cost each other.

“We simply cannot wait”, says Daniel Barenboim. It is just not an option. The way of both peoples is intertwined. Progress towards peace is entirely up to them, taking steps forward through the young people!

The memories of the deep, profound mourning of the 13th February will always remain alive in Dresden, and for each of us. All the more, it will challenge young people’s power, to lead by example and to go forward towards peace, by following the path set by Daniel Barenboim.

James Nachtwey
Laureate James Nachtwey

Laureate 2012
James Nachtwey, war photographer

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Wim Wenders):

Nachtwey succeeds in seeing for both sides of humanity, for the victim as well as the spectator, because not only does he work AGAINST war, against arbitrariness, injustice and inequality, but above all FOR the people he meets in war and suffering, and FOR us.

I know it somehow is an old-fashioned word, and most certainly difficult to translate. This man is a “Menschenfreund”, a friend of humans, and therefore he is a “Kriegs-Feind”, a foe of war.

James Nachtwey wants to enforce a closer look upon us, thus offering victims to become their eyewitness who testifies in favour of them, in order to call on war and its propaganda.

James Nachtwey has never stopped believing in the purpose of his work and he has never stopped trusting that, ultimately, his photographs will reveal their most power when the attitude behind them is an unbroken trust in humanity and its ability to compassionate with one another.

In him, you discover a man of peace, one who goes to war out of his longing for peace, and who exposes himself to bring about peace, out of his infinite hatred for war and out of boundless love towards humankind.

There is nobody more deserving in this city, in Dresden, to receive this prize than James Nachtwey.

Stanislaw Petrow
Laureate Stanislav Petrov

Laureate 2013
Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved the world

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Claus Kleber):

Thank God, on this memorable day in September 1983 a human with a candid heart and mind, with courage and a healthy shot of Russian folk wisdom, sat on the chair of the officer in charge in the control centre somewhere outside of Moscow. Proverbs saying, for example, what a wise man should do when all roosters start to crow. Namely, he should think again.

Petrov acted considerately and responsibly. Stanislav Petrov trusted his own judgement as a human being. He decided to order false alarm and thus prevented the nuclear killing machine from starting in the first place.

If Stanislav Petrov had passed his impression on to the boardroom, this impression would have had arrived to an aged suspicious old man. The secretary general who had been shaped by Russias experiences with surprise attacks, lastly the German surprise attack on Russia in June 1941. Then, Juri Andropov would have had to decide. The world was in safer hands with Stanislav Petrov.

Preisträger Emmanuel Jal
Laureate Emmanuel Jal

Laureate 2014
Emmanuel Jal, former child soldier and present-time musician for peace

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Fatou Bensouda):

Emmanuel Jal is an inspiration, to our court. One only needs to take a glance at his life story to be moved by the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive, struggle and emerge triumphant in the face of unmanageable anguish; by the ability to shine through adversity to be a force of good in the world.”

As a former child soldier, Emmanuel chose hope over despair; empathy over indifference, and helping others over succumbing to the evils and traumas of war. In tragedy, he saw opportunity. In music he found solace and a universal language through which to spread a message of peace, tolerance, justice and human rights; the message that there’s no place for children in war and hostilities.”

HRH Herzog von Kent
Laureate HRH The Duke of Kent

Laureate 2015
HRH The Duke of Kent

From the Duke’s speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen, anniversaries of World War II offer opportunities to think together: to pause and to think about the horrors of this war, to mourn all those who lost or sacrificed their lives, and to express our mutual solidarity with all those who have survived.

Both Dresden and Coventry suffered terrible and tragic losses. The bombings on British and German cities caused tremendous destruction. The war inflicted deep wounds on our nations. Yesterday, we came together to remember one of the many tragic events, the destruction of Dresden from the fire storm on 13 February 1945. 

The destruction of the beautiful city of Dresden was a terrible result of the endeavour to free Germany from Nazi dictatorship.

The relationship between Dresden and Coventry, since 1959 part of a town twinning, is a prime example of reconciliation.

The rebuilt Frauenkirche represents a lasting symbol, born from the ashes, of the British-German friendship.

Preisträger Daniel Ellsberg
Laureate Daniel Ellsberg

Laureate 2016
Daniel Ellsberg, forefather of whistle-blowers

An excerpt from the laudatory speech (Claus Kleber): (Edward Snowden):

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that without Daniel Ellsberg there could not be an Edward Snowden.

When I look at the lessons from Daniel Ellsberg, it’s particularly the single moment of courage that transformed his life and transformed in many ways a message for society that people throughout different generation and across borders learned from and will continue to learn if they are allowed to.

He has stood for decades. Risking his own freedom again and again. Facing arrest, facing criticism, facing the loss of reputation that he worked so hard to gain, to accuse government of use of unnecessary militarism.

Daniel Ellsbergs life is an argument that says: War is not natural, war is not the inherent state of man. And if we have the truth available to us, we can all live in peace.

Daniel Ellsberg has been in the public for decades, he has given up himself again and again on behalf of the public, on behalf of the common man, of society, on behalf of everyone but himself. And this, to me I find it very persuasive. So, while today I must still say: I don’t believe in heroes, but I do believe in Daniel Ellsberg. And I always will.

Laureate Domenico Lucano

Laureate 2017
Domenico Lucano, mayor of the small Italian refugee town

Excerpt from the laudatory speech, held by Prof. Martin Roth

„That this prize of humanity is awarded in Dresden of all places is fantastic. The right signal at the right time.

Humanity and courage are required everywhere. Domenico Lucano is an example to all of us, a role model regardless of political conviction, skin color, religious belief, and national borders. Indeed, Christ did not stop at Eboli, referring to the famous autobiographical book by Carlo Levi.

And that the prize is awarded in Dresden, a living memorial for expulsion, flight and destruction, and here in the Semperoper, is not only a symbolic act, but a testimony of outstanding commitment to the principles of humanity. I wish to extend my special thanks to all who helped to organize this and who contributed their ideas.

Domenico Lucano is an outstanding and in all respects worthy peace prize laureate. To him and to me as his laudatory speaker, it is essential to accentuate that all of the town of Riace, all citizens wherever they may have come from, deserve this prize. This community gives evidence of what the commitment of the individual and the solidarity of many can achieve. Maybe this visualizes that to cooperate is effective, contrary to isolating people. Without the citizens of Riace, the brilliant ideas of the mayor would have been in vain. The community of people actively lived the gestures of welcome, not only as a fine philosophical idea. But right in everyday life, everyday, every hour and also during each moment of conflict.”