On Friday April 22, The Hague Institute of Global of Justice in cooperation with the Roosevelt Foundation organized the first ever ‘Roosevelt in The Hague’ event in the Peace Palace.

Every year, the Roosevelt Foundation in the Dutch city of Middelburg and the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York award the Four Freedoms Medals to honor world citizens who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the ideals and visions that are represented in the Four Freedoms Speech that was delivered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941. Starting this year, the Roosevelt Foundation has joint forces with The Hague Institute of Global Justice to organize a special event in addition to the award ceremony, to complement the achievements of the Laureates as well as to discuss, engage and develop policy and educational frameworks that will enable key stakeholders to address the Four Freedoms effectively in our modern world.

The morning session of the ‘Roosevelt in The Hague’ event took place in the Peace Palace and was attended by Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands, descendants of the Roosevelt Family, many prominent guests and members of the corps diplomatique.

The event was opened by Mr. Erik de Baedts, the General-Director of the Carnegie Foundation. In his speech, he discussed the historic connection between the Peace Palace and the Roosevelt legacy. Most importantly, he emphasized the ways in which the Four Freedoms of President Roosevelt, namely the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of Worship, the Freedom from Want and the Freedom from Fear, were incorporated into the foundational documents of modern international law. The Four Freedoms were a source of inspiration at the end of the Second World War for the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as with the charges at Nuremberg, in particular the Crime against Humanity. Furthermore, Mr. De Baedts stressed that the efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor led to the creation of an International Organization, the UN, of which its principal judicial organ, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), celebrated its 70th anniversary earlier this week, here at the Peace Palace.

The Mayor of The Hague, also gave a speech and noted how the Four Freedoms are part of the DNA of the City of Peace & Justice. After these introductory remarks, a panel discussion took place with His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands serving as a panel moderator.

This year’s Laureates who attended the event in the Peace Palace were Bruno Ugarte who accepted the Freedom from Fear Award on behalf of Human Right Watch,  Mr. Mazen Darwish from Syria who was awarded the Freedom of Speech Award and three clergymen from the Central African Republique, namely Mr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, mr. Omar Kobine Layama & Mr. Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou who were all awarded the Freedom of Worship Award.

German German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel who was awarded the International Four Freedoms Medal and mr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist from Congo, who won the Freedom from Want Award, were unfortunately unable to attend the event.

During the Panel Discussion, the Laureates spoke about their work and answered questions from the audience. The first Roosevelt in The Hague event turned out to be a success and an opportunity for us in the Peace Palace to renew the ties that bind us together as we continue to work towards the same ideals and visions.


Roosevelt in The Hague

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