Aqeela Asifi at her school in Pakistan.
© UNHCR/Sebastian Rich

Nansen Refugee Award

Aqeela Asifi is the 2015 winner of UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award, recognised for her tireless efforts to provide education to hundreds of refugee girls.

Few humanitarian honours possess the rich legacy of UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award, presented every year to honour extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced.

In 2015, Ms. Aqeela Asifi was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award, for her outstanding contribution to education and empowerment of girls in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Through its laureates, the award seeks to continue the legacy of its founder, underlining the values of perseverance and conviction in the face of adversity, and creating an advocacy platform for UNHCR and its partners.

The Nansen Refugee Award was established in 1954. Since then, more than 60 individuals, groups and organizations have been recognized for outstanding and dedicated work on behalf of displaced people.

But the story doesn’t end at the ceremony. Nansen laureates are awarded USD 100,000 to invest in their life-saving work. Our current winner, Ms. Aqeela Asifi, intends to implement a project that will enable girl students to complete their education in Pakistan. It will also improve access to basic literacy and primary education for returnee children and youth through Community Learning Centers (CLCs) in Kabul.

Find our more about our current winner.

Latest news

How to nominate a winner

Following a review of candidates nominated the Award Selection Committee have renewed a call for nominations.


Date of 2016 ceremony confirmed

The official annual ceremony will take place on 3 October in Geneva, Switzerland.