On Oct. 6, 1986, the people of Canada received the Nansen Refugee Award, the United Nations’ highest distinction for refugee aid.
It was the first—and so far, only—time the award has been given to a country. Canada was recognized for its “major and sustained contribution made to the cause of refugees in their country and throughout the world over the years,” the UN said.
The award was established in 1954 to recognize individuals, groups and organizations for exemplary action to help and protect refugees, displaced and stateless people. It was named for Fridtjof Nansen, the first high commissioner for refugees appointed by the League of Nations in 1921.
But soon they were followed by asylum seekers from other continents.
Nansen helped define what refugees are and proposed developing...