Nansen Medal Viewing

April 30, 2015

On April 30, 2015, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, Minister Chris Alexander, the UNHCR Official Representative Mr. De Angelis and Mr. Mike Molloy from the Canadian Immigration Historical Society spoke at a special viewing of the Nansen Medal held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and to inaugurate the Journey to Freedom Day. In honour of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, plaques were presented to the Canadian Historical Society and to the UNHCR for their outstanding work in support of Vietnamese refugees and boat people.

At the end of the Vietnam War, Canada recognized the plight of the Vietnamese people trying to escape communist oppression and provided immediate help in their struggle for human rights and freedom. By the end of 1980, Canada had succeeded in accepting over 60,000 Vietnamese refugees. In recognition of the nation’s immense contribution in helping Vietnamese refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees awarded Canada the Nansen Medal in 1986. The medal was accepted on behalf of Canada by former Governor General Jeanne Sauvé and is now displayed at Rideau Hall. This is the first and only time this honour has ever been awarded to the people of an entire nation.