Attendees will have the chance to meet and network with youth activists and 2022 Freedom From Fear Award recipients Melike Balkan and Özgür Gür, representing the Turkish LGBTI+ youth-led organization ÜniKuir. Additional activists will join the event, such as laureates Lian Gogali and Mai Khoi, refugee rights advocate Camilla Falanesca, mental health and sustainability advocate Sunniva Ferri, and, upon confirmation, environmental and civic rights defender Asya Tulesova.

The Four Freedoms Awards have been presented annually since 1982 to individuals and organizations whose achievements have demonstrated a commitment to the “Four Freedoms” principles. Proclaimed by the US President Roosevelt in his historic speech to Congress on January 6, 1941, the “Four Freedom” principles reassert the core elements of democracy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Roosevelt Foundation has awarded some of the most distinguished world citizens of our time, including John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Terry Waite, Maria Ressa, and Malala Yusufzay.

This year, the selection of the LGBTI+ youth-led organization ÜniKuir for the 2022 Freedom from Fear Award by the Board of the Roosevelt Foundation is, to a great extent, the result of advice of UCR’s Youth Freedom Interns (Fer Avar, Simon Michálek, Carmen van Arragon, Dumiso Johnson-Brickhill, and Robyn Tieman). This group of UCR students worked under the supervision of Dr. John Friedman at the Social Impact Lab (SIL), to advocate on behalf of youth activists and bring recognition to young people’s contributions to making a better future world. It is also the result of alumni Claire Dépit’s Social Impact Lab’s project (undertaken in 2019-2020). The internships and initiative emerged out of her SIL senior project and were officialized in June 2021, when the Chairman of the Roosevelt Foundation and King’s commissioner in Zeeland, Han Polman, and the Dean of UCR, Dr. Bert van den Brink, both signed a Plan of Action to recognize the work of young individuals in relation to the Four Freedoms, through a one-year pilot program. Claire Dépit has been spearheading the initiative, supervising the students, and serving as an advisor to the Roosevelt Foundation in the framework of the Plan of Action.