The « Prix Henri La Fontaine 2014 » awarded to Jean Plantu’s cartoonists

On 11 October, the Nobel Committee announced its selection of Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay as Laureates 2014 of the Nobel Peace Prize. That announcement allows the Mundaneum to commemorate every year its own Nobel Peace Prize, Henri La Fontaine (1913). This year in particular, as the Henri La Fontaine Foundation just awarded the « Prix International Henri La Fontaine » to the Cartooning for peace association of Jean Plantu!

The « Henri La Fontaine International Prize for Humanism » rewards every two year a person, institution or association « contributing significantly to the defense, transmission and actualization of the values defended by Henri La Fontaine, Nobel Peace Prize 1913, such as humanism, social justice, feminism and free thinking ».

The Henri La Fontaine Foundation created in his honor announced today the unanimously selected laureate: the association Cartooning for Peace, international network of cartoonists.

Cartoons make us laugh.  Without them, our lives would be much sadder.  But they are no laughing matter:  they have the power to inform, and also to offend.
Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize at the “Unlearn intolerance” conference, New York, 16 October 2006

Plantu at the Mundaneum in 2008

Very recently, the documentary Caricaturists, Foot Soldiers of Democracy by Stéphanie Valloatto brought to light the essential role played by the press drawing and the caricature, even today, in regions in crises as well as in our democratic societies, as the “intellectual itch.” The association Cartooning for Peace, founded in Paris by press artist Jean Plantu, aims to « unlearn intolerance » and defends with pencil strokes the values held dear by Henri La Fontaine : women’s and minorities’ rights, freedom of expression and world peace, but also help to cartoonists in danger because of their political opinion. A collecting work of press drawings and cartoons is another mission of the Foundation, echoing the collection of caricatures preserved at the Mundaneum founded by Henri La Fontaine.

The late Stéphane Hessel officiated the award ceremony in the Belgian Senate in 2012. This year, prominent Belgian politician and humanist Antoinette Spaak, Minister of State, will preside over the ceremony and solemnly award the Henri La Fontaine Prize on 9 December at 11.00 in the Hôtel de Ville in Brussels.