This year, the medals of the Civil Ceremony at the Philharmonie were awarded to journalist Philip Crowther, writer Guy Helminger, chef Léa Linster, table tennis players Ni Xia Lian and Sarah De Nutte, former ASTI President Laura Zuccoli and the two lifesavers Ibrahim Ajdarpasic and Fernand Collet.
Eight individuals from civil society were honoured in the Philharmonie on Thursday morning for their service to the general public.
Journalist Philip Crowther, also a correspondent for RTL, was honoured for his quality journalism in six different languages from around the world, especially in recent months from Ukraine.
Crowther feels he represents a whole profession whose importance has only become more apparent in recent months. With his multilingualism, he has been able to reach a multitude of people to convey the truth about what is happening in Ukraine. He also notes that such freedom to educate and propagate the truth is not a given, referring to Russia, where it is prohibited to depict the conflict as an invasion or a war.
The writer Guy Helminger was commended for his service to culture, especially as a writer of poetry, novels, essays and screenplays.
Laura Zuccoli, former President of Asti, was distinguished for her commitment to coexistence between Luxembourgers and foreigners.
In a short interview, she expressed her gratitude for the medal. She explained that she accepted the award because she felt it was a general thank you to all those working towards a better social and legal environment between all nationalities.
In the doubles, the table tennis players Ni Xia Lian and Sarah de Nutte were honoured for their many sporting successes. Among other things, both women won the bronze medal in doubles at the World Championships in Houston.
Léa Linster is also a name familiar to many. The former star chef was commended for her many years of commitment to Luxembourg's gastronomy.
Two gentlemen were then also honoured for their civil courage. Ibrahim Ajdarpasic was shopping when he spotted a man trying to set himself on fire. Without flinching, he put out the fire with a scarf.
The second man honoured for this rescue is Fernand Collet, a bus driver in Luxembourg City. He had provided the fire extinguisher from the bus to help Ajdarpasic.
In the speeches of Grand Duke Henri, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Chamber President Fernand Etgen, solidarity was on the agenda. Solidarity during the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but also among each other, is of utmost importance, as they all stressed. There was also a minute's silence for all the victims of the pandemic and a big thank you to the health workers.