Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people will win the 2023 Charlemagne Prize, the body awarding the prize in Aachen has said. The prize honors work done in the service of European unification.
The Aachen International Charlemagne Prize 2023 will go to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people, the board of directors of the prize announced on Friday.
“The Ukrainian people, under the leadership of their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are not only defending the sovereignty of their country and the lives of their citizens, but also Europe and European values,” the statement said.
Role model for Ukrainians
The board of directors praised Zelenskyy as “a support and also a role model for his people” in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
For the Ukrainian people, they said that he was not just president and commander-in-chief of the army, but also “a motivator, a communicator, a motor and a link between Ukraine and the large phalanx of supporters.”
Zelenskyy is also committed to European values, the board added.
Since 1950, the international Charlemagne Prize has been given to personalities and institutions who have made a contribution to the unification of Europe.
The prize, which is awarded annually in Aachen, is considered one of the most important European honors.
It is named after Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), whom some call the “Father of Europe,” as he united much of western mainland Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire. At the end of the 8th century he chose Aachen as his capital.
Among the most prominent winners are Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron.
In 2022, the three Belarusian civil rights activists Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Zepkalo and Maria Kolesnikova were awarded the prize.
dh/msh (AFP, dpa)