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World’s Largest Humanitarian Prize Honors Landesa

In October, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation named Landesa the 20th recipient of its Hilton Humanitarian Prize. The $2 million award, billed as the world’s largest humanitarian prize, recognizes annually an organization making “extraordinary contributions in alleviating human suffering,” according to the organization’s website.

Past recipients of the no-strings-attached award include Doctors Without Borders and Operation Smile. Landesa is the first to fight for land rights for the more than 2.5 billion people who live on less than $2 per day.

“We are proud to recognize Landesa for its dedication to lifting individuals, their families, and entire communities out of poverty,” foundation president and CEO Steven Hilton said in a press release. “We know that the organization will put the Hilton Prize to good use.”

More than 250 organizations are nominated annually for the Hilton prize, which is awarded at a dinner in New York upon the decision of an international jury.

With the prize — particularly useful because it is not tied to matching funds or particular goals — Landesa plans to expand their work in Sub-Saharan Africa. They have worked in the region since the early 2000s, but the prize money will allow for a more permanent presence, including an African-based office staffed by locals.

“People at Landesa are here to serve those who are most vulnerable,” says Lincoln Miller, Landesa’s senior director of program management. “To have the Hilton Foundation recognize land rights as an important international issue creates an enhanced sense of optimism of what we can accomplish.”