Belgian war correspondent Rudi Vranckx will receive the 2018 Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize. Vranckx is being commeded on the 26 September in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague for his commitment with reporting from conflict areas and giving affected people a voice.
The Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize – named after the Dutch banker Johan Wateler, who amid the horrors of the First World War, donated the majority of his capital for peace – is awarded every two years to a person or an institution that further the cause of international peace through action pursuied through literature or the arts.
As a journalist for the Belgian public broadcaster VRT, Vranckx illustrated the effect of conflict on daily life with personal reports. Starting his career as a war correspondent in 1989 during the uprising against Ceausescu in Romania, Vranckx has over the past decades reported on wars and conflicts around the world – in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and North Africa; being one of the last European journalists to leave Egypt during the violence of the Arab Spring, and living through an attack in Syria that killed his French colleague.
Vranckx has also shown real personal engagement with the inhabitants of conflict areas. When he came across a music school in the Iraqi city of Mosul that was destroyed by IS in 2017, Vranckx started a collection of musical instruments in his home country Belgium to be sent over. 120 instruments were taken to the music school by Vranckx himself. He even followed up on the project by raising money for an organisation that provides music lessons to young refugees in Belgium.
The Peace Prize which was first awarded in 1931, has had notable recipients which include Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag, who is now the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi. This year, the first Youth Carnegie Peace Prize will be awarded; being awarded for youth initiatives that are committed to a more peaceful world.