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The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today". It has become widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' and there are now 158 Laureates from 65 countries.
Presented annually in Stockholm at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, the Right Livelihood Award is usually shared by four Recipients. The prize money shared by all Laureates is SEK 2 million (2014) but not always all Laureates receive a cash award. Often an Honorary Award is given to a person or group whose work the Jury wishes to recognise but who is not primarily in need of monetary support. The prize money is for ongoing successful work, never for personal use.
How the Right Livelihood Award is different
Unlike the Nobel Prizes and most other international prizes, the Right Livelihood Award has no categories. It recognises that, in striving to meet the human challenges of today's world, the most inspiring and remarkable work often defies any standard classification. For example, people who start out with an environmental goal frequently find themselves drawn into issues of health, human rights and/or social justice. Their work becomes a holistic response to community needs, and sectoral categories lose their meaning.
The Right Livelihood Award is not an award for the world's political, scientific or economic elite, but an award for the people and their work and struggles for a better future. The Laureates come from all walks of life: they are farmers, teachers, doctors, or simply, concerned citizens. Also, the Right Livelihood Award accepts proposals from everyone - not just from people of 'high rank'! This open nomination process works like a seismic detector of the most urgent problems of today and thus allows for timely, often even agenda-setting awards.
The actual giving of the Award is only the start of a long relationship between the Laureate and the Foundation. We continue to follow all Laureates and informs about their work on our website, through our Newsletter and press work, on Facebook, Twitter and through the Right Livelihood College campuses. There are also other programmes to support our Laureates, for example those who are especially threatened as a result of the work they do.