The WANGO Awards program honors non-governmental organizations from throughout the world that demonstrate extraordinary effort, innovation, leadership, and excellence in providing service to humanity. WANGO not only recognizes prominent international NGOs, but also the smaller, lesser-known NGOs in the least developed countries, whose exemplary service and success may have gone unnoticed and unappreciated on the international stage.
In addition to recognition of NGOs, WANGO also honors outstanding individuals whose work involves them with the non-governmental community. The Universal Peace Award is awarded to an outstanding individual who contributes substantially to world peace and global well-being. The Literary Peace Award is awarded to an author who has produced a work that promotes peace, and the Tourism for Peace Award, to an individual who has advanced peace and understanding between people through tourism.
The following are awards which are presented:
- WANGO Education Award
- WANGO Education, Media & the Arts Award
- WANGO Environment Award
- WANGO Human Rights Award
- WANGO Humanitarian Award
- WANGO Family & Peace Award
- WANGO Interreligious Cooperation Award
- WANGO Literary Peace Award
- WANGO Peace & Security Award
- WANGO Society & Health Award
- WANGO Tourism for Peace Award
- WANGO Universal Peace Award
An Awards Selection Committee composed of experts drawn from both international and local NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations, select the winners from among nominations received and their own inquiries.
Past WANGO awardees include Rotary International, Ashoka, Bahrain Women Association for Human Development, and Inuit Circumpolar Council, and have gone on to receive such prestigious awards as the Nobel Prize and World Food Prize. Dr. Wangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement was recognized with the Environment Award in 2003, one year before she received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Daniel Lubetzky, founder of PeaceWorks Foundation and its OneVoice initiative, recipient of the WANGO Peace, Security and Reconciliation Award in 2004, was honored with the King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Prize in 2005. In 2023, the Inuit Circumpolar Council was among ten winners of the UNDP Equator Prize that was conferred that year and the World Food Prize was awarded to Heidi Kühn, founder of Roots of Peace, a recipient of the WANGO Peace & Security Award.
Among those who have received the Universal Peace Award are Dr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former director general of UNESCO; H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand; and the late H.E. Kenneth Kaunda, founding president of Zambia.
For a list of all awardees, click here.