19 May 2011
WikiLeaks editor, Julian Assange, was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize gold medal for Peace with Justice at the Frontline Club on 10 May 2011.
Assange is now one of just four people to have been given the award. Nelson Mandela, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso and a Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda are the only others to have received the medal in its fourteen year history.
Professor Stuart Rees, director of the Sydney Peace Foundation who addressed the audience at the awards ceremony said, "For 14 years we’ve awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, but only on three occasions in 14 years have we made an exception to the rule and awarded a gold medal for 'exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights,'" Rees said. “We make the award for an unusual act that challenges conformity to cultural and political orthodoxy. We don’t seek somebody who’s perfect. Julian – you’ll be very reassured to know that."
Rees also read out a message from Noam Chomsky to Julian Assange. Chomsky wrote: "I thank you profusely for the way in which you have exercised your responsibilities as a citizen of free societies, thus enabling citizens to know what their government is doing."
Former SBS World News Australia presenter, Mary Kostakidis, presented Assange with his medal. "This award is made infrequently and for extraordinary achievement," she said.
For more reporting on the event, please click here.