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Leif Erikson Awards
Location Húsavík
Country Iceland

The Leif Erikson Awards, sometimes referred to as the Exploration Awards, are awarded annually by the Exploration Museum in Húsavík, Iceland, for achievements in exploration and for work in the field of exploration history. They are awarded in three categories; to an explorer for a lifetime achievement in exploration; to a young explorer under the age of 35 for achievements in exploration; and to a person or an organization that has worked to promote and preserve exploration history.

The awards ceremony takes place annually in Húsavík. The Leif Erikson Awards are the main and final event of the annual Húsavík Explorers Festival. They were first awarded in 2015.

The awards are named for Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, considered as the first European to land in North America and who, according to the Sagas of Icelanders, established the first Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada.

The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and his predecessor, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, have both presented the awards.

Scientific Committee

The winners of the Leif Erikson awards are voted by the members of the Exploration Museum's Scientific Committee. The committee is appointed for one year by the board of the museum, except for the chairperson, who is the winner of the previous year's Exploration History Award.

2015

The 2015 Leif Erikson Awards were announced by the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, on 9 July at the Reykjavík University Auditorium.

Winner Award
Harrison Schmitt
Apollo 17 astronaut
 United States
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for his scientific work on the surface of the Moon in 1972 and for his part in the geology training of the astronauts that walked on the Moon before him.
Jessica Watson
Sailor
 Australia
Young Explorer Award
Awarded for completing a non-stop and unassisted southern hemisphere solo circumnavigation of the world at the age of 16.
Huw Lewis-Jones
Author and historian
 United Kingdom
Exploration History Award
Awarded for his writings on visual culture, seafaring, polar exploration, mountaineering, and remote environments.

2016

The 2016 Leif Erikson Awards were announced by the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, on 22 October at the Explorers Festival in Húsavík.

Winner Award
Scott Parazynski
Astronaut and Mountaineer
 United States
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for his lifetime of exploration, as a veteran of five Space Shuttle flights and seven spacewalks, and as the only astronaut to have summited Mount Everest.
Tashi and Nungshi Malik
Mountaineers
 India
Young Explorer Award
Awarded as the youngest persons, at the date, to have completed the Last Degree Explorers Grand Slam, at the age of 23. First siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits and reach both Poles.
Draken Harald Hårfagre
crew and builders
 Norway
Exploration History Award
Awarded for their expedition to retrace the first trans-Atlantic crossing and the Viking discovery of the New World.
Chris Burkard
photographer
 United States
Social Media Award
Awarded for his work as and Adventure Photographer. Award presented by Ísafold Travel.

2017

The 2017 Leif Erikson Awards were presented by BBC World News Anchor Babita Sharma, on 23 September at the Explorers Festival in Húsavík.

Winner Award
Edurne Pasaban
Mountaineer
 Spain
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for becoming the first woman to climb all of the fourteen eight-thousander peaks in the World between 2001 and 2010.
Alex Bellini
Sailor
 Italy
Young Explorer Award
Awarded for crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a rowing boat, solo, within the age of 30. It took him 227 days to cover 11.000 km through the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and he spent 294 days traversing the 18.000 km through the Pacific.
Haraldur Sigurðsson
Volcanologist
 Iceland
Exploration History Award
Awarded for his scientific commitment and writings on volcanology. He has carried out research on the Santorini volcano since 1975. His volcanic research also includes work on the famous eruption of Vesuvius in Italy in 79 AD, which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.

2018

The 2018 Leif Erikson Awards were presented by Around the world pilot and News Anchor Amelia Rose Earhart, on 23 September at the Explorers Festival in Húsavík.

Winner Award
Clive Oppenheimer
Volcanologist
 United Kingdom
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for his 13 field seasons investigating Mount Erebus, the most active volcano in Antarctica.
Jade Hameister
Photographer, biologist, and author
 Australia
Young Explorer Award
Awarded for being the youngest person in history to achieve the "polar hat-trick" skiing to the Poles and crossing the Greenland icecap.
Cristina Mittermeier
Photographer, biologist, and author
 Mexico
Exploration History Award
Awarded for her significant literary and photography works on environmental issues and the relationship between human cultures and biodiversity.

2019

The 2019 Leif Erikson Awards were presented by Exploration Museum founder Orly Orlyson, on 19 October at the Explorers Festival in Húsavík.

Winner Award
Carolyn Porco
Planetary Scientist
 United States
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for her 35 years of exploration of the outer Solar System, she was a member of the imaging team for the Voyager project and took part in the first exploration of the outer Solar System.
Barbara Zangerl
Rock Climber
 Austria
Young Explorer Award
Awarded for her achievements in rock climbing.
Ben Feist
Software Engineer and Historian
 Canada
Exploration History Award
Awarded for his commitment to digitizing and communicating the achievements of NASA's Apollo program to a new generation.
China National Space Administration
National space agency of China
 China
Lunar Prize
Awarded for humanity's first soft landing on the far side of the Moon, on 3 January 2019. The award was accepted by the Chinese Ambassador to Iceland, Mr. Jin Zhijian.

2020

The 2020 Leif Erikson Awards were presented by Exploration Museum founder Orly Orlyson, on 15 August via a live-stream from the Explorers Festival in Húsavík.

Winner Award
George Kourounis
Explorer
 Canada
 Greece
Leif Erikson Award
Awarded for exploring and documenting extreme natural events and for documenting many forms of severe weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, hail, and lightning.
Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj
Glaciologist and geologist
 United States
Young Explorer Award
Awarded for field work in the arctic and for her work as a science communicator.
Jeff Blumenfeld
Author
 United States
Exploration History Award
Awarded for his 26-year work in documenting exploration history as the editor of Expedition News.
Skyrora
Spaceflight company
 Scotland
Lunar Prize
Awarded for their work in developing high-grade rocket fuel made from waste plastics, designed to minimize the environmental impact of rocket launches.

Explorers Festival

The Leif Erikson Awards are the main event of the annual Húsavík Explorers Festival. The festival was first held in 2015 with events in Húsavík and Reykjavík. The format of the festival took shape in 2016 and has stayed the same since, with the festival consisting of short expeditions and outdoor activities around Húsavík, young explorers workshops, talks by explorers, concerts, film screenings and art exhibitions.

See also

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Women in Medicine:
Mary Eliza Mahoney
Susie King Taylor
Ida Gray
Eliza Ann Grier
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