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WSF2023 Knight of Freedom Award

  • Published: October 10, 2023

The Warsaw Security Forum has once again hosted the annual Knight of Freedom Award Ceremony. In 2023 the Award was presented to the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, for NATO’s indispensable role in providing security and prosperity to its Member States, including playing a crucial role in strengthening NATO’s Eastern Flank.

The Award was accepted – on behalf of the Alliance – by the Chair of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer. In his passionate speech Admiral Bauer spoke on how NATO has experienced a transformative decade, undergoing “unprecedented change, at an unprecedented speed.” As a result NATO is not only stronger and readier to face the security challenges ahead, but the “Transatlantic spirit is alive, and bursting with energy.” NATO also received a strong laudation from National Security Advisor to the President of Poland, Secretary of State Jacek Siewiera, who has applauded the Alliance for “making the Euro-Atlantic area safe and peaceful for the last 74 years“.

NATO is the most successful alliance in the world. ‘All for one, one for all’ is the signature statement thanks to which no member country has ever been attacked militarily from the outside. Freedom, democracy and the rule of law are the fundamental values and NATO’s firm commitments. In a time of global insecurity and uncertainty, NATO remains a rock-solid guarantee for a better and more peaceful world. However, peace must sometimes be fought for and actively protected, while freedom is not for free.

The Knight of Freedom 2023 goes to NATO in recognition of its role in three crucial areas:

  1. Promotion of Peace: Since its inception, NATO has played a significant role in maintaining peace and stability in Europe by preventing major conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic area. Its presence and deterrence have contributed to an unprecedented period of peace in Europe.
  2. Collective Defense: NATO’s core principle is Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which assumes that an attack on one member is an attack on all members. This principle has deterred potential aggressors and has promoted stability in Europe and North America for decades. Particularly noteworthy is the recent strengthening of NATO’s Eastern border in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine.
  3. Cooperative Security: NATO has cooperated with many countries and international organizations to address global and regional security challenges. Recently, NATO members have provided Ukraine with vital assistance to stand up to Russian aggression.

The Knight of Freedom Award (Polish: Rycerz Wolności) is a Polish international award conferred annually to “outstanding figures, who promote the values represented by General Casimir Pulaski: freedom, justice, and democracy”.

The award was established in 2005 and is presented by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, which is an independent, non-profit think tank specializing in foreign policy and international security. The award committee presents the laureates with handmade replicas of the sabre (Polish: karabela) used by General Pulaski. The award ceremony takes place each year during the Warsaw Security Forum and the award is considered to be one of the most important Polish foreign policy and human rights awards.

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