The Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station has been given the prestigious Atlantic Council Freedom Award, which recognises extraordinary individuals and organisations that defend and advance the cause of freedom around the world.

The award was launched in 2009, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and aimed to acknowledge efforts to achieve peace and put an end to the Cold War. Hillary Clinton and the Syrian White Helmets were among the past recipients of the award.

The award this year went to MOAS for the NGO's engagement in saving human lives at sea and mitigating the impact of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. 

She was introduced by a video message sent by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and a video showing MOAS’ activities at sea. 

Photo: Jason Florio/MOAS.euPhoto: Jason Florio/

"MOAS has not been an easy journey, but our family, together with supporters from all over the world, has never regretted the decision of being at the forefront of this humanitarian crisis, one that appears to be a crisis of humanity," co-founder Regina Catrambone said.

"Maritime SAR operations are crucial to avoiding the loss of lives at sea, but it is our intention to stop the fatal journeys in the long-run through the opening of humanitarian corridors in origin and transit countries... Faced with migratory challenges, we decided to lead a community choosing courage over apathy and inaction."

From its inception in 2014, MOAS has rescued and assisted more than 39,000 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Maria Luisa Catrambone, daughter of the founders, picked up the award on behalf of the NGO during the ceremony in Warsaw.

On the same evening, four other awardees received the prize: Ani Choying Drolma, a Nepalese Buddhist nun well-known for her humanitarian efforts in increasing access to education among young girls; Daniel Fried, former US Ambassador to Poland who is one of the longest-serving US diplomats; Zbigniew Brzezinski, US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.


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