Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has congratulated Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, on his well-deserved recognition as recipient of the prestigious 2024 Wallenberg Medal.
The Wallenberg Medal is awarded by the University of Michigan to outstanding humanitarians whose actions on behalf of the defenceless and oppressed reflect the heroic commitment and sacrifice of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the closing months of World War II.’
The varsity, in a post on its website on February 12, announced Bassey as the 30th recipient of the global award.
CAPPA, in a statement on February 13, 2024, noted that Dr. Bassey – an environmental leader, architect, and poet – will become the first Nigerian, and 5th African to be so honoured after South Africans Helen Suzman and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rwandan Paul Rusesabagina, and Congolese Denis Mukwege.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, said: “This award is yet another proof of Dr. Nnimmo Bassey’s phenomenal impact and global excellence. CAPPA, together with a long list of environmental advocates in Nigeria, Africa, and around the world, is excited to celebrate this recognition. We doubly testify of Dr. Bassey’s pristine work and relentless pursuit of environmental justice and accountability, even in the face of formidable challenges.
Previous recipients of the award include the 14th Dalai Lama, Romanian American Nobel Laurette and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, American politician and civil rights activist John Robert Lewis and Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, among others.
In its statement regarding the Wallenberg Legacy, the university announced that Bassey would receive the Wallenberg Medal and deliver the Wallenberg Lecture on September 10 in Ann Arbor City, Michigan.
“As an architect, poet, writer, and human rights advocate, Nnimmo Bassey works to address root cause issues driving climate migration, environmental and social impacts of extractive production, and hunger in the Niger Delta. His commitment to socio-ecological justice connects large-scale issues of climate change, exploitation of natural resources, and political/corporate intransigence to the lives of individuals in the Niger Delta and beyond,” Sioban Harlow, Professor Emerita of Epidemiology and Global Public Health and chair of the Wallenberg Medal Executive Committee further noted in the statement.
Apart from being the director of an ecological think-tank and a multiple award winner, Dr. Bassey is also a member of the steering committee of Oilwatch International, a network resisting the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the Global South.
He chaired Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012), was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” and received the Rafto Human Rights Prize in 2012.
Dr. Bassey received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of York (UK) in 2019 and from York University (Canada) in 2023. His books include To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and The Climate Crisis in Africa and Oil Politics: Echoes of Ecological War. His poetry collections include We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood (1998), I Will Not Dance to Your Beat (2010), and I See the Invisible (2024).
According to the organizers of the Wallenberg Medal and Lecture ceremony, participation is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required and inquiries about the event and requests for event accessibility accommodations can be directed to email@example.com or 734-936- 3973.