Normandy World Peace Forum: young generations in the spotlight....

Published on 14/10/2021 | La rédaction


Once again, young people have shown their ambition, their appetite, their fears and above all their power to act in the organisation of this Peace Forum in Normandy. Each year, the Forum welcomes nearly 3000 young high school and university students. A series of initiatives are dedicated to youth in partnership with academic networks, the Canopé network and the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace. Report by Cécile Happi Towo.

The 3 nominees

Freedom Prize 2021

Raising awareness of freedom, peace and human rights among the younger generation is the primary objection of the Prix Liberté. The award ceremony for the Prix Liberté 2021 was held on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. in the plenary hall in front of hundreds of people who came from all walks of life, including young people, speakers and elected officials.

Among the many initiatives in favour of youth, the Freedom Prize is the only prize in the world dedicated to freedom that involves young people from one end to the other of the process, proposals and selections.Among the many initiatives for youth, the Freedom Prize is the only prize in the world dedicated to freedom that involves young people from one end of the process to the other, from the proposals and selections of individuals or organizations to the vote for the winner, the creation of the Trophy and the presentation of the Prize during the Normandy World Peace Forum.

The 2021 winner of the Normandy Region's 3rd Freedom Prize is Sonita Alizada, a rapper born in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. When she was 9 years old, her parents planned to marry her off but the family fled the war to Iran and the marriage failed.

In Tehran, an NGO gave her access to education and a job as a cleaning lady, and discovering by chance the song of the rapper Eminem, Sonita had a revelation. She began to write to tell her story and "Married for Sale" became a real phenomenon. Today, a refugee in the United States, she is studying law to become a lawyer and return to her country to defend Afghan children and women. "I have spoken all over the world to decision-makers and leaders to remind them that girls need to go to school, to college, to have confidence in themselves, to be able to become who they want to be.

Sonita Alizada, elected Prix Liberté 2021, receives a cheque for 25,000 euros to defend her cause as well asa trophy made by students from the Lycée Mezeray-Gabriel in Argentan and the Lycée Laplace in Caen.

Bertrand Deniaud vice-president in charge of high schools and education

3 Questions to Bertrand Deniaud

Vice-President of the Normandy Region in charge of Education and Youth.

What are your motivations?

When we created this prize, we didn't know what the choices of the next generation would be. For the past three years, we have noticed that the environment, gender equality, the free practice of music and art in general, are subjects that they carry within them, that worry them, even make them anxious.

For the past three years, interest in the Freedom Prize has been growing. Technological, aerial and digital evolutions, language teaching, and the mixing of populations have made the world a village.

All the teams of the Region who work continuously on this Prix Liberté, Christophe Yvetot and all his colleagues in the Youth Department, the services of the International Department, the communication department of the Region, the technicians and all those who have made this possible.

How did you involve young people?

Our youth is full of talent and the Trophy was imagined, designed and made by the students and teachers of the Mezeray High School in Argentant and the Laplace High School in Caen. With the support of the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace, the young people are part of an exceptional educational program that helps them understand the issues of human freedom and encourages them to By choosing and voting sovereignly for the representative of their choice, they bear a responsibility that makes them aware of the importance of this issue for their future.

Our country honours itself by welcoming men and women who love their freedom to survive, learn and develop their art for those who, like Sonita, make it their career.

Sonita fled from inequality, enslavement, denial of freedom, she fled from horror.

She wants to decide her life and art. The culture she represents through her music must be secured as a treasure, Sonita says in her publications, the cultural roots are essential. The culture she represents through her music must be secured as a treasure.

What is your message to the youth?

Through this prize we have given the word, the decision, young people must be eager to learn, be ambitious, like Michelangelo, be proud of the elders, never judge history but know it not to remake what was dark but cherish what is beautiful.

To the youth, I say: be yourself, and certain of your qualities, proud of this civilization to which you belong, wherever you come from. Build your life in your own image.

The 4th Freedom Award begins today. The files can be sent in again, put your hearts into your work, carry your hopes, we will be there with you so that Normandy lives, Liberty lives and the future lives.

Public in the plenary room

What is the Prix Liberté?

Created by the Normandy Region in 2019 and implemented with the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace in close partnership with the academic authorities of Normandy and the Canopé networkThe Prix Liberté is a pedagogical device whose objective is to make the young generation aware of freedom, peace and human rights, rooted in the values of the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944.

The Liberty Prize proposes to young people of all ages, from 15 to 25 years old, to elect each year a person or organization engaged in an exemplary fight for Liberty. This year for the 3rd edition of the Liberty 2021 Prize in the presence of Nadia Khiara, president of the international jury.

The prize is awarded to Sonita Alizada, a 25 year old Afghan rapper and activist who fights through her art against forced marriage of girls. Sonita succeeds the laureates, in 2019, Greta Thunberg, 16 years old, young Swedish activist who militates in favour of the climate "We can still repair the earth". She will donate the €25,000 prize money to four organisations working for "climate justice".

In 2020, the prize will go to Loujain Al-Hathoul for her fight for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Imprisoned and conditionally released on 10 February 2021 after 1001 days in prison.

Under the chairmanship of Tunisian cartoonist Nadia Khiari alias Willis from Tunis, the 2021 jury composed of 30 young people of 17 different nationalities selected three nominees from 370 applications. The other two are Agnes Chow, 24, a Chinese activist of the "pro-democracy" movement in Hong Kong. She was released on1 June 2021 after 7 months in prison.

Omar Radi, 34, Moroccan investigative journalist sentenced to six years in prison for investigating corruption and social injustice.

The online voting for the Freedom 2021 Prize mobilized 5683 young people aged 15 to 25 from 86 countries around the world.

In this context, it is proposed that schools participate in :

- to the call for proposals "Our Freedom 2022 Prize", inviting young people supervised by a teacher or trainer to present a person/organization and its struggle, to collectively question the notion of freedom while encouraging personal and argued commitment.

- the online vote (March-April 2022) to elect the winner from among the three persons/organizations selected by an international jury from the "Our Freedom Award 2022" files received.

This stage offers the opportunity to debate on issues of citizenship and democracy and to study, through the example of the 3 fights submitted to the vote, as many contexts and current commitments for freedom in the world.

Who is it for? - High school students, apprentices, young people in local missions, vocational training trainees.

How to participate? - Call for proposals "Our Freedom Prize 2022": file to be downloaded between September 2021 and January 2022 on

- Online voting: March-April 2022

- Information and educational documents on

Cécile Happi Towo

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