The High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) heads an institution of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The post was created in 1992 to identify and seek early resolution of ethnic tensions that could endanger peace, stability or friendly relations between the 57 OSCE participating States. Since then, “Integration with respect for diversity” has driven the work of successive High Commissioners in their continuous efforts to build bridges between communities.

The post is described in the mandate of the HCNM as “an instrument of conflict prevention at the earliest possible stage.” This means that the High Commissioner works to address the long-term causes of interethnic tensions as well as seeking solutions to contain and de-escalate urgent situations. The High Commissioner works to ease tensions involving national minorities that could lead to conflict within the OSCE area and provides the OSCE with “early warnings” if ethnic tensions threaten to develop into conflict. The High Commissioner also regularly provides the 57 OSCE participating States with recommendations and guidance on policies to harness the benefits of their diverse societies.

For insights into the thematic work of the successive High Commissioners see our series of short animated videos (in 8 languages) on YouTube and on the OSCE HCNM website.

2024 Max van der Stoel Award

Call for nominations!

The High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organizations for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE HCNM) invites you to nominate a candidate (an individual or an organization) for the 2024 Max van der Stoel Award.

What is the Max van der Stoel Award?

The Max van der Stoel Award is a prize of €50.000 that is presented by the Government of the Netherlands every two years to a person, group or institution for extraordinary and outstanding achievements in improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE participating States. Eligible candidates include international organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, government bodies or individuals with a record of excellence in the field of improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE area.

The award was established in 2001 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and honours the memory of Max van der Stoel, the first High Commissioner on National Minorities (seen here in Vukovar, Croatia).

The 2024 Max van der Stoel Award ceremony will take place in the Fall in The Hague.


Deadline: 31 March 2024

OSCE field missions, institutions and delegations may nominate a candidate here through the online form; by email to; or write to: Max van der Stoel Award, OSCE HCNM, Prinsessegracht 22, 2514 AP The Hague, The Netherlands.

Others may propose an eligible candidate by contacting their local OSCE mission, a delegation to the OSCE or one of the OSCE institutions: they will decide whether to nominate your proposed candidate.

You may also propose a candidate directly to the office of the OSCE HCNM:

Max van der Stoel Award


Prinsessegracht 22

2514 AP The Hague

The Netherlands.

Please include the name and contact details of your proposed candidate, together with the reason for your nomination (in 100-200 words, and in English).