Alternative Nobel Winners Bring Hope to 'Challenged Planet'

October 7, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The 2015 Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the “alternative Nobels,” recognized individuals—including one country’s entire population—who presented solutions to human rights crises around the world.

Those honors went to Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier; Ugandan LGBTI rights activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera; and Italian war surgeon Gino Strada. An honorary Right Livelihood Award also went to Tony de Brum, a Marshall Islands government minister, as well as the people of the Marshall Islands.

Watt-Cloutier, an elected representative of the Inuit of the Arctic, helped overhaul the educational system in Nunavik, Northern Quebec to help it better meet the needs of the Inuit community. She also fought to have Inuit human rights recognized within the fight against climate change.


“I am truly grateful to be recognized for such a prestigious award at a time when our common troubled atmosphere and our challenged planet is crying out for action from global leaders,” Watt-Cloutier said. “[T]his resonance of truth with others around the world continues to give me hope that we are headed towards a world that embraces our common humanity.”

Nabagesera, whose work to advance LGBTI equality in Uganda has made her one of the most recognizable human rights activists in Africa, founded the NGO Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) in 2003 to lobby for policy changes and dispel homophobic myths countrywide. As an activist and a lesbian operating in a hostile environment, Nabagesera has overcome threats and institutional oppression to help empower LGBTI communities to assert their rights.