Who We Are

2017 Laureate Yetnebersh Nigussie presenting the Award to Aminatou Haidar at the 2019 Award Presentation, credit: Stina Stjernkvist.
2015 Laureate Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera receiving the Award at the Swedish Parliament, credit: Right Livelihood.

Right Livelihood is a courage-powered community for social change.

We are committed to peace, justice and sustainability for all.

For over 40 years, we have presented the Right Livelihood Award to four individuals or organisations annually. By recognising the actions of brave visionaries and building impactful connections around the world, the Award boosts urgent and long-term social change. 194 Laureates from 76 countries have received the distinction to date.

The Award was founded in 1980 following the Nobel Foundation’s rejection of a proposal to create two new prizes to honour individuals committed to advancing social justice and environmental causes, especially highlighting change-makers from the Global South.

Today, our work goes beyond only presenting the Award. We provide Laureates with long-term support. We work to raise their profile, highlight their solutions, provide protection when their lives and liberty are in danger and link them and their innovative solutions to academia.

We believe that lasting change requires concerted action based on diverse solutions. We do our part by nurturing a growing community of courageous change-makers, connecting them and their solutions worldwide.


Jakob von Uexkull turns to the Nobel Foundation with an offer to fund two new Nobel Prizes. When the Nobel Foundation turns down his offer, he decides to start the Right Livelihood Award.

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The Right Livelihood Award is presented for the first time in Stockholm.


The first Right Livelihood Award logo is created by Gro Isali Faye Stjerneham.


The Right Livelihood Award is presented at the Swedish Parliament for the first time.


Our first office is established in the School of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. Paul Ekins becomes its Executive Director.


The Foundation bestowing the Award is established in Sweden.


A majority of the then 45 Laureates take part in the 10th Anniversary Conference held near Genova, Italy. They discuss ecological regeneration and peace and disarmament, among other issues.


The office of the Right Livelihood Foundation moves to Sweden, and our first full-time paid staff is recruited.


Around 30 Laureates participate in the 15th Anniversary Conference titled "New Alliances - New Paths to Development" in Cologne, Germany.


During the 20th Anniversary Conference in Salzburg, Austria, 58 Laureates meet. They discuss how to strengthen their work together in the future, resulting in a report.


The total number of Laureates reaches 100.

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The 25th Anniversary Conference in Salzburg, Austria, is attended by around 60 Laureates. The conference results in 20 petitions on various issues.


Ole von Uexkull becomes the Foundation's Executive Director.


The Swiss Support Foundation is established.


The first Right Livelihood lecture is organised at the University of Zurich. It has since become an annual event.


The Right Livelihood College is set up on the initiative of 1982 Laureate Anwar Fazal.

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Over 70 Laureates participate in the 30th Anniversary Conference held in Bonn, Germany, under the theme "Reclaiming our Future."


Our protection programme is established to safeguard Laureates under threat.

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Our first Regional Conference is held in Bogota, Colombia for Laureates from Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the next 5 years, other regional conferences take place in Cairo, Mumbai, Geneva and Santa Cruz, California.


Jakob von Uexkull retires from the Board.


Our Geneva office is established.


Our Stockholm office moves to the Right Livelihood House in Gamla Enskede.


The Award Presentation is moved to Stockholm's The Vasa Museum, which hosts the event for the next 3 years.


The Foundation receives consultative status at the UN. This allows us to advocate for Laureates and their causes before the UN.

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The 40th Right Livelihood Award is presented at a large-scale celebration at Stockholm's Cirkus.

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We celebrate our 40th Anniversary in Bangkok with a conference titled "Education for Right Livelihood to Inspire Change" before the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Award Presentation goes virtual: our 2020 event is produced entirely for online audiences due to the Covid-19 pandemic.