The International Rescue Committee first bestowed its Freedom Award for extraordinary contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom to Willy Brandt. The year was 1957. The list of those who have received the Freedom Award reveals the remarkable ability of an individual to shape history and change for the better a world moving toward freedom for all.

1957   Willy Brandt

1958   Winston Churchill

1959   William Donovan

1960   Richard E. Byrd

1965   George Meany

1966   David Dubinsky

1967   David Sarnoff

1969   Lucius D. Clay

1970   Jacob K. Javits

1975   Bruno Kreisky

1976   Leo Cherne

1977   Hubert H. Humphrey

1978   Joseph Buttinger

1979   Mary Pillsbury Lord (postumously)

1981   Lane Kirkland and Irena Kirkland

1987   Elie Wiesel

            John C. Whitehead

1989   Sadruddin Aga Khan

             Lech Walesa

1990   Violetta Barrios de Chammorro

1991   Fang Lizhi and Li Shuxian

            Javier Perez de Cuellar

1992   Cyrus Vance

1993   George Soros - Distinguished Humanitarian Award

             Dwayne O. Andreas - Distinguished Public Service Award

1994   Theodore J. Forstmann - Distinguished Humanitarian Award

             Felix G. Rohatyn - Distinguished Public Service Award

1995   Daw Aung San Suu Kyi - Special Freedom Award Recipent, in absentia

             Sadako Ogata

             Richard Holbrooke

1997   Robert P. DeVecchi

1998   Madeleine Albright

2001   John McCain

2002   Reynold Levy

             Hamid Karzai

2003   Vaclav Havel

2004   Romeo Dallaire  - Distinguished Humanitarian Award

2005   George H.W. Bush and William J.Clinton

2006   Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

2007   United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

             Antonio Guterres and Angelina Jolie

2008   Kofi Annan

2011   The Brokaw Family: Tom and Meredith Brokaw;

                 Dr. Jennifer Brokaw; Andrea Brokaw Simon;

                 Sarah Brokaw

2012   John C. Whitehead

2013   George Soros

2014   The Humanitarian Aid Worker

2015   Strive Masiyiwa

2016   Spyros Galinos

2017  Michael Bloomberg

          Liv Ullman - John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award