Francis M. Deng, a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, is being awarded the “Rome for Peace and Humanitarian Action” prize, sponsored by the city of Rome, Italy, for his work on internal displacement.
The prizewinner, chosen annually by Rome’s mayor, is given about $25,000 to spend on the activity for which he or she is recognized. Deng was chosen because of his “great contribution toward raising the consciousness of and mobilizing the international community with regard to over 20 million internally displaced persons all over the world,” according to a statement from the city council.
Deng, who also serves as the United Nations Secretary-General’s representative on internally displaced persons, has been with Brookings since 1988. He is Sudan’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has served as the Sudanese ambassador to the United States, Scandinavia, and Canada, and was the human rights officer at the U.N. Secretariat’s Division of Human Rights.
Deng is also the author of several books, including Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement, with Brookings scholar Roberta Cohen (Brookings, 1998), and co-directs, with Cohen, the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement.
“We have long understood the importance and influence of Francis Deng’s work,” said Michael H. Armacost, president of the Brookings Institution. “The Rome prize confirms the critical value of his writing and its relevance to the world’s future.”
Deng is being honored for his work on internally displaced persons, who are forced from their homes as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, and systematic violations of human rights, but remain within the borders of their own countries. According to the Project on Internal Displacement, refugees who cross national borders can take advantage of a system of international protection and assistance, but those who are displaced internally suffer from a lack of legal or institutional protection and assistance from the international community.
Richard N. Haass, vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, said, “Francis Deng has made a difference twice over: in his writings on the idea of sovereignty as responsibility’ and through his active promotion of the rights of displaced persons. Those awarding the Rome prize ought to be commended for recognizing an individual who has so effectively put his ideas into practice.”
The award is being presented to Deng by the mayor of Rome in a December 14th ceremony in Italy. Previous winners include Pope John Paul II (1994) and the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders (1996).
For more information on Francis Deng’s work, you can go to the website for the Brookings Institution’s Project on Internal Displacement.