Lannan Foundation awarded Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet and human rights advocate, the foundation’s 2001 Prize for Cultural Freedom. Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet and human rights advocate, has been named the recipient of the foundations third annual Prize for Cultural Freedom. Patrick Lannan, Lannan Foundation president, said, "Mahmoud Darwish is one of the most prominent contemporary poets in the Arab world and is widely recognized as the poetic voice of the Palestinian people. His courage in speaking out against injustice and oppression, while eloquently arguing for a peaceful and equitable co-existence between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews, is what motivated Lannan Foundation to honor him.”
Mr. Darwish will receive $350,000.
Born in upper Galilee, Palestine, in 1942, he and his family fled to Lebanon in 1948 when the Israeli Army destroyed his village. After returning to the newly formed state of Israel, he began writing poetry that reflected a sense of uprootedness and exile that characterizes the Palestinian experience.
Imprisoned several times for reading his poetry, Mr. Darwish eventually left Israel. A former member of the PLO’s Executive Council, he wrote the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence.