Reporting From ‘Secularist Of The Year’ Awards 2016
I’m currently en route to England’s capital for The Secularist Of The Year Awards which is being organised by The National Secular Society. Charlie Hebdo were awarded the honour last year and I was on hand to provide my listeners with some exclusive coverage. I’ll be hoping to do the same again this year from the sold out event.
As stated on The National Secular Society Webpage:
The £5,000 Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year award is presented annually in recognition of an individual or an organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to secularism and human rights. The award is kindly sponsored by NSS honorary associate Dr. Michael Irwin.
Here is a list of previous winners:
2015 Charlie Hebdo, for its courageous response to the terror attack on its Paris office and defence of secularism – presented by Martin Rowson, Guardian cartoonist and author.
2014 Safak Pavey, for her international work promoting secularism, Human Rights and gender equality as well as humanitarian aid and peace-building – presented by Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Foreign Office Minister.
2013 In honour of young human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, the prize was donated to Plan UK, represented by Debbie Langdon-Davies – presented by Michael Cashman MEP.
2012 Peter Tatchell, for his lifelong commitment to the defence of human rights against religious fundamentalism – presented by Nick Cohen.
2011 Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, for her work as chair of the European Parliamentary Platform for Secularism in Politics – presented by A. C. Grayling.
2010 The Southall Black Sisters group, for their support of black and Asian women’s human rights, accepted by Pragna Patel – presented by Michael Irwin.
2009 Evan Harris MP and Lord Avebury, joint award for their work in the abolition of blasphemy law –presented by Richard Dawkins.
2007 Mina Ahadi, founder of the German Central Council of Ex-Muslims – presented by Joan Smith.
2006 Prof. Steve Jones, biologist at University College London and author of a number of books on evolution –presented by Dick Taverne.
2005 Maryam Namazie, for her work in defence of women’s rights and the right to freedom of expression –presented by Polly Toynbee.
Secularism is incredibly important to me and I think it’s vital to support your secular activists however you can. Activism is absolutely essential to ensure a secular future, but unfortunately activism and campaigning can be costly business in an unpopular struggle.
Far from simply being an Oscar-esque backslapping exercise, The Secularist of The Year awards seeks to boost the winner’s activism by awarding them with a £5,000 ($7215) cash prize.
This level of financial support could make a huge difference to an activist’s ability to campaign and influence, which is what it’s all about.
I’m a member of the National Secular Society myself, which you can join by clicking here.
I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting some new ones. Please subscribe to my blog and podcast or follow me on Twitter to keep up to date on this year’s ceremony.