Colin Firth wins award as Campaigner of the Year in Europe

Published: 29 November 2006

On Tuesday night, Actor Colin Firth was awarded the title of Campaigner of the Year by European Voice, Brussels’ most distinguished and important weekly, for his role as a defender of poor countries at world trade talks. Colin Firth has been an active campaigner for Oxfam for the last 5 years and heavily involved in its Make Trade Fair Campaign.

The nominees had been selected by senior editors from The Economist as well as by a panel of advisors drawn from the European Union community. The reception was attended by European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and several Ministers, EU Commissioners and EU Parliamentarians.

Colin has lobbied behind the scenes on behalf of the Campaign – engaging in meetings with diplomats and civil servants and the head of the WTO. Colin also met in December 2005 EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson prior to the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.

Colin is also the Co -Director of Café Progreso a chain of Fair Trade cooperative cafes in London where the profits are shared directly with the farmers in the coffee buying regions. He is currently lobbying on behalf of the Ethiopian Coffee Farmers for their right to own the trademarks for their speciality coffees – against Starbucks one of the biggest coffee buyers in the world.

On WTO negotiations, Colin told the 200-guests evening Gala: “The failure so far of the governments of so many of the worlds most powerful countries in the face of such egregious unfairness - and the clear discomfort of so many Europeans - to make the slightest progress on the issue of fair trade is hard to explain.” He continued: “Or perhaps not?“ – pointing to the lack of political courage from Europe and America.

Colin also challenged the upcoming German Presidency of the G8 and the EU to ensure that promises of the G8 in 2005 are kept and that more and better aid will continue to be provided to the world’s poorest.

Claire Lewis, an Oxfam spokesperson, commented “We are really proud that Colin has won this award. He has never sought the limelight for himself but has been one of the most hardworking and informed Ambassadors we have ever worked with. He is committed to the Campaign for justice and really deserves this accolade. I hope this will spur others to get involved further as this shows that “celebrities” can be credible and play a part in campaigning for change.”

Contact Information

For further information please contact:
Claire Lewis on +44 7818 406010 or
Louis Belanger on +32 2 502 45 42/ Mobile: +32 4 73 56 22 60

Photos of Colin in a “dumping” photoshoot for the Make Trade Fair Campaign can be found at www.maketradefair.com/work/celebs