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Logo: Reinhard Mohn-Preis 2011

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011

Voting has finished!

The winner of the first Reinhard Mohn Prize has been decided

In March 2011 some 11,600 German citizens were invited to choose the winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 from the seven finalists.

In view of the theme of this year’s Reinhard Mohn Prize – Vitalizing democracy through participation – it was appropriate for the winner to be decided by ordinary citizens. A total of 11,600 citizens from all over Germany were invited to take part in the citizens’ jury for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011, the composition of this jury reflecting the full diversity of society. 81 percent of these (9,403) registered as jury members on the internet platform www.abstimmung-rmp2011.de and found out about the projects that had been nominated for the award. Almost three quarters (72 percent) of the members of the jury actively participated and cast their vote for one or more of the projects that had been nominated. The participants based their decision on detailed case studies and video portraits. The breakdown of the votes is shown in the table under Downloads.

The winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 is: City and school development through the citizens’ budget in Recife, Brazil!

There are many comments from the citizens showing why they decided to choose this project:

  • “What I found remarkable about this project is that citizens who would otherwise have no influence on policies and the use of budgets can participate and bring about actual changes in their city. This strengthens the self-confidence and dignity of these people and that is the aim of any fair policy.”
    As a result, it is clear that the following points about political participation are particularly important to the citizens involved: direct co-determination, development of concrete solutions, the participation of all groups in society, focusing on areas where the need is greatest and a noticeable contribution to greater social justice.
  • "In this project I was particularly impressed by the children’s citizen budget. This makes it possible for people to experience and learn about the basic principles of democracy from a very young age. Anyone growing up with that experience will naturally engage in democratic processes as an adult."
  • "This project is based on people’s needs and is an opportunity for direct citizen participation. The fact that no financial framework is set out before developing the project makes it possible to develop future-oriented projects. Although the next stage is of course to check whether these are feasible, it doesn’t mean that we have to lose sight of the actual objective. I also think this is a good opportunity to learn how to deal with compromises and how to put these forward. This is an effective way to strengthen the attachment and responsibility that the citizens feel towards their city."
  • "The level of the citizens’ budget is only specified retrospectively. This allows citizens to work on solutions based on real needs without being thwarted in their efforts from the start because there is no money available. Gearing the solutions to requirements in this way shows that the citizens and their needs are being taken seriously – the citizens, in turn, are able to take their government seriously."
  • "This project enables participation from the bottom of society upwards and this is something truly exemplary. It makes it possible to include those who are socially disadvantaged. This is a very active way to promote the idea of participation, something which I think is extremely important in order to ensure long-term changes and social harmony. What I also think is important is that the participation processes are accessible to poorer sections of society. If citizens can experience at first hand how they can influence decisions about society this will help them to develop social responsibility."

The winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 was honored at an awards ceremony on June 16, 2011 in Gütersloh. The awards speech was given by the German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in voting for the Reinhard Mohn Prize!


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