On December 10, 2000, the decision was made in Paris to grant the UNESCO Award for Human Rights Education to the City of Nuremberg for its exemplary work in promoting peace and respect for human rights. The international award was presented on April 21, 2001 in Nuremberg.

The award which is endowed with US $ 10,000 honours outstanding achievements in the promotion of the ideals of human rights in keeping with the Charter of the United Nations and the UNESCO's Constitution. In its reasoning, the jury particularly praised Nuremberg's active approach to dealing with its Nazi past and emphasised the long and comprehensive commitment of the city and its population in the field of human rights education. This is mainly reflected in the establishment of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, the creation of the Documentation Centre on the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival and the co-operating in the German Human Rights Film Award.

This was the first time the UNESCO award – established in 1978 and presented every two years – went to a city.

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