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Denis Mukwege
Denis Mukwege par Claude Truong-Ngoc novembre 2014.jpg
Mukwege in 2014
Born (1955-03-01) 1 March 1955 (age 69)
Education University of Burundi (MD)
University of Angers (MA)
Université libre de Bruxelles (PhD)
Years active 1983–present
Awards Nobel Peace Prize
Human Rights First
Civil Courage Prize
Wallenberg Medal
Right Livelihood Award
Four Freedoms Award
Time 100
Sakharov Prize
Seoul Peace Prize
UN Prize in Human Rights
Olof Palme Prize
Gulbenkian Prize
Legion of Honour

Denis Mukengere Mukwege ( born 1 March 1955) is a Congolese gynecologist. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. He works in the treatment of women who have been hurt by rebel forces.

In 2018, he and Nadia Murad were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

On 2 October 2023, Mukwege announced his candidacy for president in the 2023 Democratic Republic of the Congo general election.

Early life and education

Born in Belgian Congo – today the Democratic Republic of the Congo –, Mukwege is the third of nine children born to a Pentecostal minister and his wife. He almost died at birth due to an infection but was saved by the Swedish Pentecostal missionary and midwife Majken Bergman. Mukwege decided to study medicine after seeing the complications that women in the Congo experienced during childbirth who had no access to specialist healthcare, and he wanted to heal the sick people for whom his father prayed.

After graduating with a medical degree from the University of Burundi in 1983, Mukwege worked as a pediatrician in the rural Lemera Hospital near Bukavu. However, after seeing female patients who often suffered from pain due to an absence of proper care, he decided to study gynaecology and obstetrics at the University of Angers, France, obtaining his masters and completing his medical residency in 1989. His education was mainly financed by the Swedish Pentecostal mission.

On 24 September 2015, Mukwege earned a PhD from Université libre de Bruxelles.


After completion of his studies in France (1989), Mukwege returned to work at the Lemera Hospital. At the beginning of the First Congo War, the Lemera hospital was attacked, his patients and co-workers were killed and the hospital ransacked. Dr. Mukwege fled to Bukavu where he founded the Panzi Hospital in 1999. Its construction was mainly financed by Swedish Christian aid organizations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The Panzi Hospital has continued to enjoy support from the Swedish Pentecostal Mission's development cooperation organization PMU.

Since its foundation, Panzi Hospital has treated more than 82,000 patients. The German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFAEM) has been supporting Mukwege's work with funds and medicines.

Dr. Mukwege with women
Dr. Mukwege with female patients.

In 2008, the non-profit Panzi Foundation DRC was created in order to support the work of Panzi Hospital with "legal assistance, psycho-social support and socio-economic programmes." A Panzi Foundation USA was later founded to promote fundraising in the United States of America, and encourage investment in the Panzi Hospital and Foundations.

Other activities

PSVI Film Festival Fighting Stigma Through Film (45106461595)
Mukwege with Lord Ahmad at the PSVI Film Festival in London in 2018.

At 13 years of age, Mukwege took the decision to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Pentecostal minister, which was a transformative experience for him. He later said: "I started to speak in tongues. My whole being was filled with heat and a certainty that I was not alone. The experience was so overwhelming that I knew my life was forever changed by that moment." Apart from working as a doctor, he partly ministers in a Pentecostal church in Bukavu with 700 members. Mukwege has repeatedly named his faith in Jesus Christ as a primary motivation for his work at Panzi.

The Panzi Hospital is being run by the Congolese Pentecostal movement CEPAC and has been continuously supported by the Swedish Pentecostal movement. In 2015, Mukwege was invited to speak at Nyhemsveckan, the annual Pentecostal conference in central Sweden.

Mukwege founded the City of Joy with Eve Ensler and Christine Schuler Deshryver as a place to support the women who were treated at the Panzi Hospital. The City of Joy opened its doors in 2011, and a Netflix documentary was released about the City of Joy in 2016.

When the United Kingdom assumed the presidency of the G7 in 2021, Mukwege was appointed by the United Kingdom's Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss to a newly formed Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) chaired by Sarah Sands.

Personal life

Mukwege has three daughters.



  • UN Human Rights prize (New York, December 2008)
  • Olof Palme Prize (Sweden, 2008)
  • African of the Year (Nigeria, January 2009), awarded by Daily Trust
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government (Kinshasa, November 2009) by French Ambassador Pierre Jacquemot.
  • Van Heuven Goedhart-Award (June 2010) from the Netherlands Refugee Foundation (Stichting Vluchteling)
  • The Wallenberg Medal (University of Michigan, October 2010)
  • The King Baudouin International Development Prize (Brussels, 24 May 2011) by the King of Belgium Albert II.
  • Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society (New York, September 2011) by President Bill Clinton.
  • The 2011 Deutscher Medienpreis (German Media Award) (Baden Baden, Germany, February 2012)
  • Officier de la Légion d'Honneur Française (Panzi, July 2013) brought to Bukavu by the First Lady of France Valérie Trierweiler and the Minister of Francophonie Yamina Benguigui.
  • Civil Courage Prize (October 2013)
  • Human Rights First Award (August 2013)
  • Right Livelihood Award (September 2013)
  • "Prize for Conflict Prevention" by the Fondation Chirac (Paris, October 2013) honored by the presence of 2 French presidents Jacques Chirac and François Hollande
  • The Hillary Clinton Award (Washington, DC, February 2014) at Georgetown University for Advancing Women in Peace and Security along with the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague
  • The Inamori Ethics Prize from the Case Western Reserve University Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence (October 2014)
  • Solidarity Prize received from Médecins du Monde and the Saint-Pierre University Hospital (Brussels, October 2014)
Remise du prix Sakharov 2014 à Denis Mukwege Strasbourg 26 novembre 2014 11
Mukwege at the Sakharov Prize presentation in Strasbourg in 2014.
  • The Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought, received from the European Parliament (Strasbourg, November 2014)
  • Gulbenkian Prize (Lisbon, July 2015)
  • Women for Women International "Champion for Peace Award" (New York, November 2015)
  • Prix Héros pour l'Afrique (Hero for Africa) (Brussels, January 2016)
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women's Health (Philadelphia, March 2016)
  • Fortune Magazine 35th World Greatest Leader of 2016 (March 2016)
  • Four Freedoms Award Laureate for the Freedom From Want, by the Roosevelt Institute in New York and Franklin D. Roosevelt Stichting (Middelburg, Netherlands, April 2016)
  • Scandinavian Human Dignity Award Laureate, by the Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers & Committee (Stockholm, October 2016)
  • Seoul Peace Prize (Seoul, Korea, October 2016)
  • Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People (2016)
  • Nobel Peace Prize, with Nadia Murad (October 2018)
  • Mukwege was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2018.

Honorary degrees

  • Honorary Doctorate by the faculty of medicine at Umeå University (Sweden, June 2010)
  • Honorary degree from the University of Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium, February 2014) along with Lawrence Lessig and Jigme Thinley
  • Harvard University Honorary degree as Doctor of Science (Boston, May 2015)
  • University of Edinburgh Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine (Scotland, December 2017)
  • University of Angers (French: Université d'Angers) Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine (Angers, France, January 2018)
  • Honorary degree from University of Liège Honorary Degree Doctor Honoris Causa (Liège, Belgium, September 2018)
  • Honorary degree from the University of Antwerp (April 2019)
  • Honorary degree from Pennsylvania State University (Philadelphia, United States, May 2019)
  • Honorary degree from New University of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal, May 2019)
  • Honorary degree from Université de Montréal (Montréal, Canada, June 2019)

Documentary films

  • Angèle Diabang Brener 2014: Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes (in French).
  • Thierry Michel and Colette Braeckman 2015: The Man Who Mends Women: The Wrath of Hippocrates.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Denis Mukwege para niños

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