Kim Phuc Phan Thi receives the international peace prize at the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany, on Feb. 11.
Sebastian Kahnert—AFP/Getty Images
By Hillary Leung
February 12, 2019

It has been nearly five decades since Kim Phuc Phan Thi was captured on camera, at the age of nine, naked and fleeing a South Vietnamese attack that left her severely burned.

On Monday, the woman who became known as “Napalm Girl” was awarded one of the world’s most prestigious honors, the Dresden Peace Prize, for her work as an activist.

The 55-year-old, who now lives in Canada, is the founder of the Kim Phuc Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the work of international organizations that provide free medical assistance to children who are victims of war and terrorism. She has also been designated by UNESCO as a goodwill ambassador for culture of peace.

Kim received a cash award of €10,000 ($11,200).

In this June 8, 1972 photo, South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places.
Nick Ut—AP

The image was captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut in 1972, and was later honored with a Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, Ut told the AP that Kim lost consciousness shortly after the picture was taken. He drove Kim to a hospital, where he was told the child was injured beyond help.

But Kim survived, and the photograph became iconic of the Vietnam War.

This is the tenth year the Dresden Peace Prize, presented at the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany, has honored individuals for their work to advance peace. Previous awardees include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, war photographer James Nachtwey and American civil rights activist Tommie Smith.

Write to Hillary Leung at hillary.leung@time.com.

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