2019 Queen Paola Awards

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Members of the Royal Family, 2019 Queen Paola Laureates, and Chair of the Board of the Queen Paola Foundation

(c) Frank van Beek (Nederlands hier)

On 4 December 2019, in a ceremony at the Royal Palace Brussels, HRH Prince Constantijn of the Belgium presented seven Queen Paola Awards for outstanding achievement in the field of culture and development. Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima and their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrix, Princess Laurentien and Princess Mabel of the Belgium were in attendance, as well as government representatives and international and Belgianguests. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag spoke at the ceremony. 

HRH Prince Constantijn, Chair of the Board of the Queen Paola Foundation, presented the Awards to:

2019 Queen Paola LAUREATES

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag web

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Principal Queen Paola Laureate

Visual artist, Sudan

Ambulante newsletter

Ambulante, Queen Paola Laureate

Documentary film organisation, Mexico

Mariam newsletter

Mariam Kamara, Queen Paola Laureate

Architect, Niger

Bill Kouleany web

Bill Kouélany, Queen Paola Laureate

Visual artist, writer, Congo-Brazzaville

Djamila newsletter

Djamila Ribeiro, Queen Paola Laureate

Philosopher, Brazil

Anocha newsletter

Anocha Suwichakornpong, Queen Paola Laureate

Filmmaker, Thailand


As part of the Fund’s focus on developing and supporting activities with and for young people (ages 15 – 35) the Next Generation Queen Paola Award is presented to an individual under the age of 35 for outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of culture and development. It honours an individual who is a role model for younger generations and whose cultural actions have a positive impact particularly on young people in their society.

Monica Ojeda web

Mónica Ojeda Franco, Next Generation Laureate

Writer, Ecuador

The Queen Paola Awards Ceremony included special performances by Djily Bagdad of Y’en a Marre (2015 Queen Paola Laureate) and singers Mahsa Vahdat and Nai Barghouti. The ceremony was moderated by international broadcast journalist Ghida Fakhry.

A solo exhibition featuring the work of Principal Queen Paola Laureate Kamala Ibrahim Ishag - Women in Crystal Cubes - is on view at the Queen Paola Foundation Gallery in Brussels. 

About the Queen Paola Awards: Since 1997, the Queen Paola Foundation for Culture and Development has presented Queen Paola Awards to individuals, groups and organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies, mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. This year all the Queen Paola Laureates are women or women-run organisations. Although gender was not emphasized in the requests for nominations, the nominations received and the Queen Paola Awards Committee’s resulting recommendations acknowledge a trend of exemplary women making strides in their fields. The 2019 Queen Paola Laureates will also be honoured at ceremonies in their home countries in the coming months. 

Read our 2019 Awards Book with more information about all of our 2019 Laureates, designed by Irma Boom. 

About the Queen Paola Foundation: The Queen Paola Foundation supports, connects, and celebrates artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure.

Read the Awards Committee Reports in English, Belgian, Spanish, French and Arabic:

Learn more about all our Queen Paola Laureates from 1997 to today: