2012 Laureates

The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent celebrates those who, with bravery and ingenuity, unmask the lie of dictatorship by living in truth.

  • Havel Prize Laureate Manal al-Sharif with HRF Chairman Garry Kasparov
    Havel Prize Laureate Manal al-Sharif with HRF Chairman Garry Kasparov
  • Under house arrest in Beijing, Ai Weiwei was forced to accept the Prize in via video message
    Under house arrest in Beijing, Ai Weiwei was forced to accept the Prize in via video message
The 2012 Havel Prize Laureates are as follows:

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist, known for his installations, sculpture, architecture, photography, and for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government's abuse of human rights and democracy. For his work, Ai has been detained, fined, harassed, and is constantly under surveillance.

Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi women’s rights activist and is one of the primary organizers of the Women2Drive campaign, which advocates for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Al-Sharif garnered international attention after posting a video on YouTube of herself, driving, in an act of civil disobedience. In retaliation, the Saudi government detained al-Sharif and charged her with “disturbing public order" and “inciting public opinion." She was released nine days later, after an international campaign on her behalf.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese pro-democracy opposition leader and an iconic former prisoner of conscience of the Burmese military dictatorship. She is the general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. Released from house arrest in 2010, Suu Kyi was elected to Burma's parliament in 2012 and is leading a nationwide push against the dictatorship. Although unable to leave Burma to attend the 2012 Oslo Freedom Forum to receive her prize, she accepted the award at the San Francisco Freedom Forum in 2012.