On the occasion of the presentation of the 2002 Aristides de Sousa Mendes Award, a timely and opportune initiative of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, I am specially pleased to be able to be associated with this ceremony and pay my personal tribute to those who – by their actions on behalf of individual freedoms and rights of men – are to be distinguished with this award.
Thus, I want to express my warmest congratulations to the winners and express my sincere conviction that the conferring of this award is an acknowledgement of the important contributions made with their actions by Dr. José Ignacio García Hamilton and Mr. Nicholas Tozer, towards the creation of a much more humanitarian world.
Besides, with this message I also want to express my congratulations for this first edition of the Sousa Mendes Award, destined to immortalise the memory of a man who paid very dearly for his clarity, freedom of conscience and the courage that distinguished his actions, in a time marked by blind barbarism.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes is an example that we must keep alive so that it becomes a reference in the collective memory of humanity.
Lisbon, November 18th, 2002