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Finnish deaf advocate wins UN prize

The UN has given its Prize in the Field of Human Rights to a Finn for the first time. Liisa Kauppinen was recognized for her work on behalf of deaf people all over the world.

Kuurojen Liiton entinen toiminnanjohtaja Liisa Kauppinen.
Former Executive Director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf, Liisa Kauppinen. Image: Lehtikuva

Liisa Kauppinen was Executive Director at the Finnish Association of the Deaf from 1976 to 2006, and became the first female president of the World Federation for the Deaf in 1995.

She has worked for the World Health Organisation and UNESCO, among other global NGOs. She becomes the first Finnish recipient of the award. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter.

“This is a big surprise,” said Kauppinen. “I really appreciate this prize and I see it as recognition for all the deaf people, sign language users, women, people with disabilities, and Finns.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will present Kauppinen with the award in New York on 10 December.

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