Committee of the Regions, Brussels – Brescia, Italy
The Ambasciata della Democrazia Locale a Zavidovići (ADL – or ‘Embassy of Local Democracy in Zavidovići’) of Brescia, Italy, has been bestowed with the esteemed Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award on the sombre occasion of the fifth anniversary of the namesake Gdańsk Mayor’s tragic assassination.
The award recognises ADL’s exemplary work in restoring economic dignity and social autonomy for thousands of individuals globally who have fallen victim to conflict or persecution.
The Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award, announced at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 13 January, holds special significance in its commitment to upholding the legacy of the late Mayor Paweł Adamowicz.
The honour will culminate in a formal presentation at the 10th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Mons on 19 March.
Established by the European Committee of the Regions (COR) in collaboration with the City of Gdańsk and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), the award is a tribute to local leaders, both in politics and civil society, battling against intolerance, and radicalisation.
This year, Members of the European Parliament were granted the opportunity to nominate candidates for the award, highlighting the growing importance of inter-institutional cooperation.
The ADL Zavidovići was selected for its dedicated assistance to thousands of refugees and its impactful contribution to the promotion of local democracy, non-discrimination, and integration.
Founded during the Bosnian war, ADL stands as a testament to the collective efforts of civil society, local and international authorities, and ordinary citizens in defending human rights. The association, created in honour of three pacifists from Brescia who lost their lives in 1993 while delivering humanitarian aid to Zavidovići, actively invests in building a resilient, welcoming, and inclusive community.
Vasco Alves Cordeiro, President of the COR, remarked, “[t]oday we honour Mayor Paweł Adamowicz’ memory by awarding ‘Associazione per l’Ambasciata della Democrazia Locale a Zavidovici’ with the 2024 Adamowicz Award. Founded more than 25 years ago, this initiative demonstrates unwavering dedication to human rights, collaborating with municipalities to leave no one behind.”
A special mention was also accorded to Alla Myronova, Mayor of Inhulka in Ukraine, for her exemplary courage and resilience during the Russian occupation.
Myronova’s commitment to her community, even in the face of repeated interrogations, serves as a symbol of solidarity for Ukrainian Mayors currently in occupied territories.
The award ceremony on the 19th of March in Mons will mark the first state-level commemoration of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz’s assassination.
The Mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, expressed her hope that the ideals of promoting solidarity and democratic values, championed by Mayor Adamowicz, continue to be shared throughout Europe.
Chair of CoR Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX), Patrick Molinoz, reiterated the Committee’s commitment to preserving Adamowicz’s legacy of courage and excellence in promoting freedom, solidarity, and equality.
MEP Magdalena Adamowicz reflected on the significance of recognising individuals and institutions for their altruism, stating, “[i]t’s very hard for them, to encourage others, to show something that should be obvious as an example, as a recognition, that it’s a very simple, very basic, human thing: To be good, to respect each other, to share what we have, not what we are short of, to extend a helping hand, to simply give a bit of time and, most importantly, to smile at other people.”