The B’nai B’rith Human Rights Prize of B’nai B’rith France “Fraternal Love – Harmony – Beneficence” aims to honour personalities from civil society who possess the essential qualities of tolerance and humanism and who work through their personal commitment to the defence of the fundamental values of dialogue and peace, thus contributing to bringing communities closer together.
The National Commission for the Awarding of the Human Rights Prize, led by Mrs. Ada Sadoun, awarded the 2013 Prize to Mr. Boulalem Sansal.
Born in 1949 near Algiers, Boualem Sansal has an engineering education and a PhD in economics. After having been in turn a teacher, consultant and company manager, he became a senior civil servant in 1995 at the Ministry of Industry, a position from which he was dismissed in 2003 because of his critical stance towards the government. He then dedicated himself to literature
A ruthless witness of today’s Algerian society, his writing is as dense as it is truculent.
In his first novel, “Le serment des barbares” (Goncourt First Novel Prize) published in 1999, he denounced the arbitrary and abusive treatment of the people by the administration.
“Le village de l’Allemand ou Le journal des frères Schiller” (Gallimard, 2008) and “Rue Darwin” (Gallimard, August 2011) reveal, like all his novels, an acute sensitivity to the rights of all people, of all origins.
Boualem Sansal denounces fanatics of all kinds and courageously leads the fight against all obscurantism and negationism.
With his work “Governing in the name of Allah” that he has just published, he was awarded the “Jean Zay Secularism Prize 2013”.
This French literary prize is intended to reward a book that conveys republican values.
He took part, as a guest of honour, in the Israel Cultural Festival in May 2012 where he met in particular David Grossman, with whom he launched the “International Appeal of Writers for Peace” from Strasbourg. He is interested in the Algerian identity today and its multiple origins. In the same spirit, he studies the formation of the Algerian language and respects all that constitutes it.
Boualem Sansal still lives today in the vicinity of Algiers.
For his lucidity, his talent, his respect for others, and his extraordinary courage, for the way he brings his actions into line with his thoughts, B’nai B’rith France has elected him as the winner of the 2013 B’nai B’rith Human Rights Prize.
The award ceremony took place in the honorary rooms of the Paris City Hall on October 17th during the gala dinner celebrating the 80th anniversary of B’nai B’rith France and the 170th anniversary of B’nai B’rith International.