The Children's Peace Prize: a platform for talents with big ideas

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Jerry Lampen and KidsRights

How do you go about realising worldwide change? A big question, which Nkosi Johnson from South Africa addressed in 2001 at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. An eleven-year-old boy, he grabbed the audience's attention by asking the world to accept and love children and adults with HIV/AIDS just like any other human being, because, as he said: “We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don't be afraid of us – we are all the same!”

We feel it is important that these young change-makers receive extra encouragement to realise their ambitions. Leonie Verwer Leonie Verwer Sponsor Manager

Global audience

Nkosi Johnson's speech was broadcasted live on television and reached a huge audience across the globe. Johnson was born HIV positive and spent his life fighting for the rights of children with HIV/AIDS. He dedicated himself especially to ensuring children with HIV or AIDS had the same opportunities as other children, such as the opportunity to go to school.

Reward and inspiration

In 2005, the KidsRights foundation launched the first International Children's Peace Prize. The aim of the prize is to support children worldwide fighting for their rights. Every year, it is awarded to a child somewhere in the world who has made a brave stand for the rights of children. The prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, founder and chair of KidsRights. “The winners are a true inspiration for both children and adults. They demonstrate that from a young age, a child can let his or her voice be heard to move the world. Each year, the winner proves that children are so much more than a group of passive recipients of help. On the contrary: children hold the power to bring about change.”

The first International Children's Peace Prize was awarded posthumously to Nkosi Johnson and presented to his foster mother Gail Johnson. Nkosi Johnson himself died of AIDS at the age of twelve.

Fostering talent

The partnership between ABN AMRO and the KidsRights foundation was forged in 2006. KidsRights supports and encourages the personal development of children as change-makers by developing their leadership capabilities and expanding their knowledge. The foundation also supports local change-making initiatives. This makes a good match with ABN AMRO's values: as a Partner of the Future we commit ourselves to fostering the talents of the next generation. We feel it is important that these young change-makers receive extra encouragement to realise their ambitions.

Their own story

Previous winners of the Children's Peace Prize have each used their unique commitment and talents to focus attention on problems that millions of children have to face. These winners originate from all across the world and all have their own story to tell. ABN AMRO believes these stories should be heard. ABN AMRO’s Sponsoring & Events Manager Ernst Boekhorst explains, “The personal stories of these boys and girls bring inspiration to children in the Netherlands and worldwide, and serve as examples how they can start a movement in their own environment, town, city, school or neighbourhood to make the world a slightly better place.”

While Nkosi Johnson (2005) and Malala Yousafzai (2013) were already talked about prior to receiving the prize, this is not the case for the majority of winners. Every year, therefore, KidsRights invites nominations for the Children's Peace Prize. Anyone can nominate a child using the KidsRights website, to bring the brave stories of unknown boys and girls into the spotlight. “The prize is intended to give a voice to the voiceless,” says Marc Dullaert.

The nomination process

Every year, the search for talent is relaunched. The KidsRights foundation sends out a “call for nominations”: a worldwide request to nominate children who stand up for children's rights. The search is focused on an individual between the age of twelve and eighteen who stands up for his/her own rights and those of other children in the world. In addition to the name of the child, the nomination form contains a number of questions about the child's background, the impact of his or her actions, and the relevant motivation. KidsRights' message is loud and clear: “We invite you all to inform us about the children you have met or work with, and whom you think deserve this prize.”

From nominations to shortlist

KidsRights publishes its call for nominees to the world press using its channels of communication, in addition to approaching its worldwide network of over 3,500 contacts who work with children's rights. Every year the foundation tries to widen its reach, to enable for more and more children to be nominated. This year, a new record was set with 120 nominations. The International Children's Peace Prize Expert Committee will be spending the next few months studying these nominations and ultimately composing a shortlist of three candidates. One of those three will ultimately be presented with the prize on 2 December in the illustrious Knights’ Hall in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Worldwide platform for children's rights

The International Children's Peace Prize will be awarded for the twelfth time in 2016. It is a good and exciting thing to annually honour a child for his or her brave commitment to children's rights. The award ceremony is a recognition as well as an incentive for everybody to dedicate themselves to making the world better and fairer for children. The ceremony provides children's rights with a worldwide platform. This is what the partnership between KidsRights foundation and ABN AMRO can make possible: to discover and develop the talents of brave young boys and girls. To create a world in which all children can reach their full potential.

The International Children's Peace Prize is an initiative of the KidsRights Foundation, which was founded in 2005 to reward children who stand up for the rights of other children around the world. The winner receives the statuette 'Nkosi', which shows how a child sets the world in motion. The winner also receives a scholarship and a worldwide platform to promote his or her message about children's rights. A project fund of a hundred thousand euros is invested by KidsRights in projects in the winner’s country that are closely related to the winner's key theme. ABN AMRO has been a partner of KidsRights since 2006 and is the leading sponsor of the International Children's Peace Prize. As a Partner of the Future, ABN AMRO is committed to discovering, developing, and rewarding talent.

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