On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, U.S. Embassy Prague presented the annual Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award to Šimon Pánek, the co-founder and Director of People in Need NGO. Šimon Pánek was selected due to his inspirational leadership and extraordinary commitment to the foundation, development, and protection of Czech civic society.
The evening was begun with a concert by the Guarneri Trio Prague playing the music of Joseph Hayden, Antonín Dvořák, and Bedřich Smetana. Guarneri Trio Prague is one of the most renowned piano trios in the world of classical music. It has achieved a reputation as a leading chamber music ensemble for its unique style, tonal quality, and technical skills. The Guarneri Trio Prague performs regularly at numerous international music festivals and in major concert venues. The trio was to perform in China in 2019 before Chinese authorities canceled their performance.
In 2004, the U.S. Embassy in Prague established the Alice Garrigue Masaryk Award to recognize persons and institutions in the Czech Republic. The award is presented annually and is named in honor of Alice Garrigue Masaryk, prominent Czech-American humanitarian and founder of the Czechoslovak Red Cross, as a tribute to her devotion to combating social injustice and her personal courage in standing up for human rights.
Previous award winners include: Anna Šabatová, David Ondráčka, Czeslaw Walek, Čeněk Růžička, Marie Gottfriedová, Klára Kalibová, Oldřich Kužílek, ROMEA organization, Igor Blaževič, Lucie Sládková, Kumar Sri Vishwanathan, Jiří Kopal, and the weekly Respekt.