The 1972 picture of Kim Phuc Phan Thi is one of the best-known war photographs of all time. On 8th June of that year the girl of nine years became a victim of the Vietnam War. As part of a group of children she, naked and burned over large areas of her body, ran and was photographed by news cameraman Nick Ut. The image shocked the world and was later honored with the Pulitzer Prize. Today the 55-year-old is an ambassador for peace.
On Monday, 11th February 2019 the so-called “Napalm Girl” will be presented with the 10th International Peace Prize, the Dresden-Prize, in the Dresdner Semper Opera. The award and the events surrounding it are the combined effort of the organization Friends of Dresden Deutschland e.V. and the Semper Opera in Dresden. From its beginnings the Dresden-Prize has been sponsored by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.
„Scarcely anyone knows her name, but almost everyone her picture, a little girl, burned by napalm, running naked and screaming down a Vietnamese street. Since that day Kim Phuc Phan Thi, today 55 years old, has been merely the “girl in the picture” or the “napalm girl.” No one who has seen the picture will ever forget it. But there was a time when Kim’s innermost wish was indeed for its being forgotten. It reminds her constantly that since that day she is changed. She began to hate the many stages onto which she was called to appear; the journalists who followed her; the scrutiny of people looking to see her scars. No longer did she want to be the victim whom everyone saw in her.
That is, until Kim could bring herself to accept as her personal fate, that she cannot escape the photo. Until she understood that it represents rather a mandate directed to her; until she was able to see it as a gift.
She became a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO, founded an organization for children wounded and maimed in war, and speaks each year to thousands of people. And they listen to her, especially when she, who today still suffers under the pains from that napalm attack, speaks of reconciliation, without which there cannot be peace. They listen especially when she calls to forgiveness.
We live in times during which hate is generally at large. But it is repeatedly the victims of violence and war who renounce hate. And in doing so they demonstrate human greatness, to the shame of the preachers of hate. Kim Phuc Phan Thi has shown just such greatness and so has become a worldwide exemplar.”
The award ceremony is to be moderated by publicist and publisher Jakob Augstein.
The Dresden Peace Prize, which carries with it a cash award of €10,000, will be presented in 2019 for the tenth time. The prizewinners to date are Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachov; pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim; war photographer James Nachtwey; former Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov; former Sudanese child soldier, today peace activist and musician, Emmanuel Jal; advocate for reconciliation the Duke of Kent; forefather of whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg; Domenico Lucano, Mayor of Riace, the Italian refugee village; and Olympic gold medalist and activist for citizens’ rights Tommie Smith.
The award ceremony takes place on Monday, 11th February 2019, at 7:00 o’clock PM in the Semper Opera in Dresden.
Notices for Media Representatives:
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