The Theodor Heuss Foundation (German site, but the Wikipedia article is probably more informative), named after Germany’s first post-war president, is a foundation established to remember the political achievements of Theodor Heuss as an example for social commitment, moral courage and the dedication to fostering democracy. The foundation seeks “to bring attention to something, which has to be done and shaped in our democracy, without being finished” (Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäcker, 1965).
The foundation awards a yearly prize and medal to persons of high standing and organisations, which are groundbreaking in these areas of social commitment and the fostering of democracy.
This year the prize has been awarded to Oxfam and to FSFE. The FSFE press release is available (also in German, French, Italian, Dutch and Greek, thanks to our wonderful and dedicated translation teams). In these complicated days, it feels — to me, at least — a little weird to be side-by-side with an organization like Oxfam. They are helping rebuild Haiti. Providing direct support, like water and shelter; “helpin’ people with skin“, as Granny Weatherwax might say. The FSFE helps with skin, too, (for instance with licensing advice, workshops, and promotion booths at events), but for far more abstract goals. Which isn’t to say that Free Software does not help: some Free Software is really useful in a disaster.
It might feel a little weird in the current context, but it is an honor and a privilege.