Highlights from the 2022 Edition of the Silver Rose Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Silver Rose Awards, Women Political Leaders and Lee Cheuk-yan! 

Last week, 16 November 2022, SOLIDAR, together with the progressive family, Socialists & Democrats and the PES, held the annual flagship event organised for more than 20 years, the Silver Rose Awards

This award marks an important moment for the progressive movement to come together, celebrate and amplify the voices of individuals and organisations working towards social justice, human rights, equality, and fundamental freedoms. This year, after two editions online, we were able to bring the ceremony back to the European Parliament, hosted by our closest partners in this endeavour, the family of the Progressives. 

A novelty of this edition was the introduction of a thematic award, that considering the ongoing war in Ukraine, aimed to celebrate initiatives organising and working for peace and common security. Alongside that, we also awarded the Lifetime Achievement prize, celebrating figures from the progressive movement worldwide that fight for social rights, social justice and decent work. 

SOLIDAR President Anne Van Lancker opened the ceremony by underlining why the Silver Rose Awards still holds relevance today: 

Ours are the times of multiple and parallel crises and our progressive movement understands that the answers must be built on the strong foundations of sustainable development, the respect of international law, social and climate justice, guaranty of fundamental freedoms, democracy, and human rights. As authoritarianism is gaining ground around the world, civil society and the trade union movement have a particularly crucial role to play. It is a fight that often comes at a high personal cost for the leaders and activists involved, to their sacrifices we are indebted as their struggle serves as an inspiration and a reminder of what is at stake.”

Anne Van Lancker

During the ceremony, we were joined by many MEPs from the progressive family. In her keynote, MEP Biljana Borzan, Vice President of the S&D Group, restated the key role civil society plays in making the world a better place and recalled the idea behind this award, back in 2000, when there was no prize in recognition of the role of progressive civil society and trade union play in advancing fundamental rights. 

MEP Tonino Picula, member of the Silver Rose Jury did the honours in awarding the Peace and Common Security Prize to Women Political Leaders (WPL), represented in the room by WPL President and Founder Silvana Koch-Mehrin and Board Member, Obiageli Ezekwesili. The award celebrates the important role women politicians can and must play in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and highlights the #WPL4Peace initiative, launched 2 days after the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine in support of peaceful resolution and an inclusive peace dialogue, with all parts sitting at the table.

Until today, the initiative has received 500 signatories, 27 current or former women presidents and prime ministers, 7 Nobel laureates, and more than 60 women political leaders worldwide. 

“We need strong women’s participation, at all levels, for building long lasting peace and security. Today’s award is a great step in that direction.”

MEP Tonino Picula

“It is fitting that we gather to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Silver Rose, as it shares its birth with the landmark UN resolution 1325 which clearly states what is needed in conflict resolution and prevention – a seat at the table, in equal terms, and full involvement, and mainstreaming gender perspective in all processes, based on the understanding of the specific impact that women suffer in situations of conflict. Women’s participation is crucial to achieve sustainable and long-lasting peace in Ukraine and elsewhere.” 

Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili 

MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio, member of the Silver Rose Jury, did the honours in awarding the Lifetime Achievement Award to the Secretary General of the now-disbanded Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU). This award celebrates activists and organisations for their long commitment to the struggle. 

To receive the award, Alex Tang, former Vice Chairperson of the disbanded union. Lee Cheuk-yan is currently serving over 20 months in prison for organising peaceful protests in Hong Kong in 2019. Lee Cheuk-yan has spent his life as a trade unionist in Hong Kong, fighting for democracy, human and labour rights. 

“Lee made it his lifelong mission to have democracy in China. Because without democracy in China, there will not be democracy in Hong Kong. The solidarity you have expressed through this award to the independent labour movement in Hong Kong is much needed!

Alex Tang

Giving these two awards to very important initiatives was very powerful and throughout the room a strong emotion was felt and shared. 

It was incredible to be able to share these moments all together in person, once again, together with all the progressive family. 

Closing the ceremony, MEP Katarina Barley, PES Vice-President took the floor and underlined how, since 2000, Silver Rose celebrates the best of our communities, and civil society, trade unions, citizens fighting for a better world for all of us. 

Civil Society is essential for inclusive democracy and plays an active role in pluralist democracy.

MEP Katarina Barley

The event was closed by SOLIDAR Mikael Leyi who invited all the guests to a reception to share a moment of conviviality.