Amnesty International’s highest honour

The Ambassador of Conscience Award recognizes remarkable individuals and groups who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights by acting on their conscience, confronting injustice and using their talents to inspire others. Its remarkable alumni include committed activists, musicians, artists and public figures who have inspired millions of people to join them in defending the human rights of people all over the world.

It was conceived in 2003, inspired by the poem “From the Republic of Conscience”, written for Amnesty International by the late Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney.

“…He therefore desired me when I got home
to consider myself a representative
and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue.
Their embassies, he said, were everywhere
but operated independently
and no ambassador would ever be relieved.”

Our conscience is something we are all gifted with at birth, no matter who we are.

Alicia Keys, Ambassador of Conscience 2017
HISTORY: AMBASSADOR OF CONSCIENCE AWARDS
Vaclav Havel, playwright, writer and first president of the Czech Republic.
Credit: Tomas Hajek / Demotix
Mary Robinson (centre), former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Credit: AI Switzerland
Hilda Morales Trujillo, Guatemalan women’s rights activist.
Credit: Amnesty International
U2, campaigning Irish rock band, and Paul McGuinness, their manager.
Credit: APGraphicsBank
“As long as injustice and inequality persist in our world, none of us can fully rest.” Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and 2006 Ambassador of Conscience
Credit: Jurgen Schadeberg
Peter Gabriel, English musician and humanitarian activist.
Credit: Amnesty International
“Amnesty International, I congratulate you and thank you for all that you bring to our world.” Harry Belafonte, singer, activist and 2013 Ambassador of Conscience
© Amnesty International
“I would like to thank Amnesty International for their continued campaigning to protect human rights and for giving me this award.” Malala Yousafsai, student activist and 2013 Ambassador of Conscience
©2013 Joao Pina
“Freedom of expression is an essential human condition; it should be valued, respected and protected by all of us.” Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist, activist and 2015 Ambassador of Conscience
© Gao Yuan
Joan Baez, American folk singer and activist.
© Amnesty International / Photo: Henning Schacht
Youth activist Fadel Barro, a member of the Y’en a Marre in Senegal which along with Le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from the Democratic Republic of Congo won the Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2016.
“If you want justice for yourself, you need justice for everyone. If you want freedom, you need to fight for everyone’s freedom.” Angélique Kidjo, singer-songwriter and 2016 Ambassador of Conscience
Melanie Morrison and Melissa Mollen Dupuis, representatives of the Indigenous rights movement in Canada, winner of the Ambassador of Conscience Award 2017
“Our conscience is something we are all gifted with at birth, no matter who we are.” Alicia Keys, singer-songwriter and 2017 Ambassador of Conscience
© Kevin Mazur
“This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force.” Colin Kaepernick, American NFL player, activist and 2018 Ambassador of Conscience.
© Getty Images
“To act on your conscience means that you fight for what you think is right. I think all those who are part of this movement are doing that, because we have a duty to try and improve the world.” Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a protest claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change in Paris
© REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Award Highlights

What makes an Ambassador of Conscience?

In addition to their careers as musicians, artists and public figures, Ambassador of Conscience Award winners are proven activists who have used their talents to inspire millions of people to join them in defending the human rights of people all over the world.

©2013 Joao Pina