The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent was founded in 2012 with the support of Dagmar Havlová, the widow of the late poet, playwright, and statesman. Václav Havel was chairman of HRF from 2009 until his death in December 2011. The Havel Prize Laureates receive an artist’s representation of the “Goddess of Democracy,” the iconic statue erected by Chinese student leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests of June 1989. Each sculpture embodies the spirit and literal reality of creative dissent at its finest, representing the struggle of truth and beauty against brute power. Each year’s laureates also share a prize of 350,000 Norwegian kroner.
The Havel Prize is funded jointly by grants from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation and the Thiel Foundation. The Brin Wojcicki Foundation was established by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and his wife Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, a leading personal genetics company. The Thiel Foundation, established and funded by entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, defends and promotes freedom in all its dimensions: political, personal, and economic. The Havel Prize is awarded with kind permission of The Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97.
The 2016 Laureates are Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani and Uzbek photojournalist Umida Akhmedova.
The 2015 Laureates are the Sudanese nonviolent resistance movement Girifna, Indonesian stand-up comedian Sakdiyah Ma’ruf, and Cuban graffiti artist and activist El Sexto.
The 2014 Laureates are Turkish protestor and performance artist Erdem Gunduz, Russian punk rock protest group Pussy Riot, and Tibetan documentary filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen.
The 2013 Laureates were Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White.
The 2012 Laureates were Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Saudi women's rights activist Manal al-Sharif, and Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.