Citizenship Award 2019: Virginie Nguyen and Geert Mak

The 15th Citizenship Prize was awarded to journalists Virginie Nguyen and Geert Mak. The jury chose to reward two laureates who bring out a broader story and vision of society in an accessible way, through testimonies and portraits of ordinary people. And they do so perfectly, each in their own way: one through the image and the other through the word. 

Virginie Nguyen

Is a Brussels-based photojournalist. Through her photos, she wants to tell stories, especially about social exclusion and the effects of conflict on local people, inside and outside Europe. With two others, she founded the HUMA collective, a non-profit organisation whose aim is to offer Belgian and international media reports on vulnerable audiences and important social issues that often remain underexposed.

Virginie, born in 1987, studied journalism at IHECS and trained in photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism.

From 2010 to 2013, she was a photographer for French agency Wostok Press. Join studio Hanslucas in 2012 and became co-founder of the collective HUMA.
From January 2012 to August 2014, she worked in Egypt as an independent photographer but also for local Egyptian newspapers. 
She made reports in Belgium, but also in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Ukraine, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Gaza Strip, among others.
Works for many newspapers and magazines, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, L'Obs, The Washington Post and in Belgium, De Standaard and La Libre Belgique.

She received several awards and mentions in Belgian and international photography competitions, including the Belgium Nikon Press Award in the promising young photographer category with a report on the stigmatisation of Roma. Her reportage Gaza, the Aftermath also won several awards. 

Geert Mak

Is a Dutch journalist and writer who knows how to pen down European history like no other. He is appreciated worldwide for his commitment to national and international history and current affairs. Through his articles and books, he provides an accessible analysis of the old and new divisions in our society and offers a nuanced vision of the European project and European identity.

Born in Vlaardingen in 1946, Geert studied constitutional law and sociology of law in Amsterdam.

Taught constitutional and immigration law at Utrecht University.

From 1975 to 1985, he was editor of the Groene Amsterdammer. He then worked for NRC Handelsblad and was foreign affairs editor of VPRO radio.

In the 1990s, he became a full-time writer. He wrote well-received and widely read books such as De Eeuw van mijn Vader, about the family he comes from. In 1999, he travelled around Europe for NRC Handelsblad for 12 months, publishing a note on the front page of the newspaper every day. Those notes formed the basis for the book In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century, which was also a huge success outside the Netherlands and Belgium and was filmed by VPRO.
This autumn, the sequel was published: Great Expectations, In Europe 1999-2019.

Mak received many prizes, honorary doctorates and awards. He was twice elected historian of the year in the Netherlands, the French government appointed him a knight in the Légion d'Honneur, and he received the Comenius Prize for accessible historiography.

(Download PDF Laureate 2019)

20 August 2019

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