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Gift to Heide Simonis of a bow and arrow of the Yanomami
Rüdiger Nehberg shows Heide Simonis a model of the mobile hospital

Cross of the Order of Merit for Rüdiger Nehberg

Rüdiger Nehberg was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by President Johannes Rau on 28th February 2002. The ceremony was performed by the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein, Heide Simonis, in the state government residence in Kiel.

The award honoured Nehberg's many years of work for the survival of the Yanomami Indians of Brazil, campaigns for nature conservation and the current commitment against Female Genital Mutilation.

Simonis recognized Nehberg's dialogue with Islam as particularly noteworthy. She described it as a successful starting point to counter effectively the barbaric practise of Female Genital Mutilation: "Long-term change can only be achieved with respect for the values and traditions of those affected."

Ms. Heide Simonis' speech for award ceremony can be accessed above under "Speech".