Roberta Cohen, a senior fellow at Brookings who specializes in humanitarian and human rights issues, and Francis Deng, a research professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University and former special representative of the United Nations secretary-general, are co-winners of the prestigious 2005 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
Cohen and Deng developed guidelines for a protection and aid system for internally displaced people, or people who are displaced within their home nations. Their ideas have helped shape an ongoing effort to assist victims of humanitarian disasters, in particular displaced persons, such as the Darfur crisis in western Sudan, judges said.
Cohen and Deng were among 37 nominations from 10 countries. The $200,000 award will go to the Project on Internal Displacement and will support the work on internally displaced peoples at Brookings and at SAIS.
An estimated 25 million people in 40 countries have been forced to leave their homes in recent years by civil war, ethnic strife and human rights violations. Although the U.N. provides food, medicine and shelter to refugees who cross national borders, people who are uprooted in their own countries rarely receive such assistance.
Deng and Cohen described their ideas in a series of articles, lectures and statements between 1999 and 2003 that followed publication of their two-volume study of this subject. Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement and The Forsaken People: Case Studies of the Internally Displaced were published in 1998 by the Brookings Institution Press.
Cohen and Deng have long been at the forefront of efforts to ease the plight of internally displaced persons. In 1998, Cohen was a Public Member of the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. She previously served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights in the State Department during the Carter administration. She was also senior adviser to the National Academy of Sciences and Refugee Policy Group, executive director of the International League for Human Rights in New York, and honorary secretary of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group in London.
Deng, who is a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, was special representative of the United Nations secretary-general on internally displaced people from 1992 until 2004. A former Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Scandinavia and Canada, Deng also served as minister of state for foreign affairs of the Sudan and human rights officer for the U.N. Division of Human Rights.
Awards founder Charles Grawemeyer was an industrialist, entrepreneur and University of Louisville graduate who wanted to reward powerful ideas or works in the sciences, arts and humanities.
The Grawemeyer Foundation at the University of Louisville annually awards $1 million—$200,000 each for works in music composition, education, ideas improving world order, religion and psychology.
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.