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1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1996th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 996th year of the 2nd millennium, the 96th year of the 20th century, and the 7th year of the 1990s decade.
1996 was designated as:
- International Year for the Eradication of Poverty
- January 3 – Motorola introduces the Motorola StarTAC Wearable Cellular Telephone, the world's smallest and lightest mobile phone to date.
- January 5 – Hamas operative Yahya Ayyash is assassinated by an Israeli Shabak-planted, bomb-laden cell phone.
- January 7 – One of the worst blizzards in American history hits the eastern states, killing more than 150 people. Philadelphia receives a record 30.7 inches (78 cm) of snow, New York City's public schools close for the first time in eighteen years and the federal government in Washington, D.C. is closed for days.
- January 8 – A Zairean cargo plane crashes into a crowded market in the center of the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, killing 300 people.
- January 9-20 – Serious fighting breaks out between Russian soldiers and rebel fighters in Chechnya.
- January 11 – Ryutaro Hashimoto, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, becomes Prime Minister of Japan.
- January 13 – Italy's Prime Minister, Lamberto Dini, resigns after the failure of all-party talks to confirm him. New talks are initiated by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro to form a new government.
- January 14 – Jorge Sampaio is elected President of Portugal.
- January 16 – President of Sierra Leone Valentine Strasser is deposed by the chief of defence, Julius Maada Bio. Bio promises to restore power following elections scheduled for February.
- January 19
- The North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The North Cape Barge is pulled along with it and leaks 820,000 gallons of home heating oil.
- An Indonesian ferry sinks off the northern tip of Sumatra, drowning more than 100 people.
- January 20 – Yasser Arafat is re-elected president of the Palestinian Authority.
- February 4 – The 6.6 Mw earthquake near Lijiang in South-west China kills up to 322 people, injures 17,000, and leaves 300,000 homeless.
- February 6 – Birgenair Flight 301, on a charter flight from the Caribbean to Germany, crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Dominican Republic, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
- February 7 – René Préval succeeds Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti in the first peaceful handover of power since the nation achieved independence 192 years earlier, in 1804.
- February 9
- The element copernicium is created by fusing a 208Pb nucleus with a 70Zn nucleus, forming 278Cn. Given the placeholder name "ununbium", the element is not named until 2010.
- An IRA ceasefire ends with the Docklands bombing in London's Canary Wharf District, killing two people and causing over £85,000,000 worth of damage.
- February 10 – Bosnian Serbs break off contact with the Bosnian government and with representatives of Ifor, the NATO localised force, in reaction to the arrest of several Bosnian Serb war criminals.
- February 14 – Violent clashes erupt between Filipino soldiers and Vietnamese boat people, as the Filipino government attempts to forcibly repatriate hundreds of Vietnamese asylum seekers.
- February 15
- The American Embassy in Athens, Greece, comes under mortar fire.
- Begum Khaleda Zia is re-elected as Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The country's second democratic election is marred by low voter turnout, due to several boycotts and pre-election violence, which has resulted in at least thirteen deaths.
- The UK government publishes the Scott Report.
- March 1 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi forces refuse UNSCOM inspection teams access to five sites designated for inspection. The teams enter the sites only after delays of up to seventeen hours.
- March 2 – 1996 Australian federal election: The Liberal/National Coalition led by John Howard defeats the Labor Government led by Prime Minister Paul Keating. Howard was sworn in on March 11.
- March 3 – José María Aznar, leader of the Popular Party, is elected as Prime Minister of Spain, replacing Felipe González.
- March 3-4 – Two suicide bombs explode in Israel, killing 32 people. The Yahya Ayyash Units admit responsibility, and Palestinian president Yasser Arafat condemns the killings in a televised address. Israel warns of retaliation.
- March 6
- Mesut Y?lmaz of ANAP forms the new government of Turkey (53rd government).
- A boat carrying market traders capsizes outside Freetown harbour in Sierra Leone, killing at least 86 people.
- Chechen rebels attack the Russian government headquarters in Grozny; 70 Russian soldiers and policemen and 130 Chechen fighters are killed.
- March 8 – China begins surface-to-surface missile testing and military exercises off Taiwanese coastal areas. The United States government condemns the act as provocation, and the Taiwanese government warns of retaliation.
- March 9 – Jorge Sampaio is the new Portuguese president.
- March 13 – Dunblane massacre: Unemployed former shopkeeper Thomas Hamilton walks into the Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and opens fire, killing sixteen infant school pupils and one teacher before committing suicide.
- March 14 – An international peace summit is held in Egypt in response to escalating terrorist attacks in the Middle East.
- March 15 – Fokker, a major small size aircraft manufacturing goes bankrupt in Netherlands.
- March 16 – Robert Mugabe is re-elected as President of Zimbabwe, although only 32% of the electorate actually voted.
- March 17 – Sri Lanka wins the Cricket World Cup by beating Australia in the final.
- March 18 – The Ozone Disco Club fire in Quezon City, Philippines kills 163 people.
- March 22 – Sweden's Finance Minister Göran Persson becomes the new Prime Minister of Sweden.
- March 23 – Taiwan (Republic of China) holds its first direct elections for President; Lee Teng-hui is re-elected.
- March 24 – The Marcopper mining disaster on the island of Marinduque, Philippines takes place.
- March 25 – The 68th Academy Awards, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles with Braveheart winning Best Picture.
- March 26 – The International Monetary Fund approves a $10.2 billion loan to Russia for economic reform.
- May – Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq's main production facility of biological warfare agents.
- May 9
- May 10
- May 11 – After takeoff from Miami, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people on board.
- May 13 – Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh kill 600 people.
- May 17-28 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is elected as Prime Minister of India, replacing P. V. Narasimha Rao of the Indian National Congress. However, the party does not receive an overall majority and Vajpayee resigns thirteen days later rather than face a no confidence vote and is replaced by the United Front leader, Deve Gowda.
- May 18 – The X Prize Foundation launches the $10,000,000 Ansari X Prize.
- May 21
- May 23 – Members of the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria kill seven French Trappist monks, after talks with French government concerning the imprisonment of several GIA sympathisers break down.
- May 27 – First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin meets with Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiates a ceasefire for the dispute.
- May 28 – Albania's general election of May 26 is declared unfair by international monitors, and the ruling Democratic Party under President Sali Berisha is charged by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe with rigging the elections. Several hundred protestors gather in Tirana to demonstrate against the election result.
- May 30 – The Likud Party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, wins a narrow victory in the Israeli general election.
- July 1
- July 3 – Boris Yeltsin is re-elected as President of Russia after the second round of elections.
- July 5 – Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, is born at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, UK.
- July 11 – Arrest warrants are issued for Bosnian Serb war criminals Radovan Karad?i? and Ratko Mladi? by the Russell Tribunal in The Hague.
- July 12 – Hurricane Bertha: made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, causing $270 million in damage ($431 million in present-day terms) to the United States and its possessions and many indirect deaths.
- July 16 – An outbreak of E. coli food poisoning in Japan results in 6,000 children being ill, including two deaths, after a group of school children eat contaminated lunches.
- July 17
- July 19
- July 21 – The Saguenay Flood, one of Canada's most costly natural disasters, is caused by flooding on the Saguenay River in Quebec.
- July 24 – The Dehiwala train bombing kills 56 commuters outside Colombo.
- July 25 – The Tutsi-led Burundian army performs a coup and reinstalls previous president Pierre Buyoya, ousting current president Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.
- July 27 – The Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics kills one person and injures 111.
The electron microscope reveals chain structures in meteorite fragment ALH84001
- August 1
- August 4 – The 1996 Summer Olympics conclude.
- August 6 – NASA announces that the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, may contain evidence of primitive lifeforms; further tests are inconclusive.
- August 7 – Heavy rains kill more than 80 campers near Huesca, Spain.
- August 9 – Boris Yeltsin is sworn in at the Kremlin for a second term as President of Russia.
- August 13 – Data sent back by the Galileo space probe indicates there may be water on one of Jupiter's moons.
- August 14 – A rocket ignited during a fireworks display in Arequipa, Peru knocks down a high-tension power cable into a dense crowd, electrocuting 35 people.
- August 15 – Bob Dole is nominated for President of the United States, and Jack Kemp for Vice President, at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California.
- August 16 – Brookfield Zoo, Chicago. After a 3-year-old boy falls into the 20-foot (6.1 m) deep gorilla enclosure, Binti Jua, a female lowland gorilla sits with the injured boy until his rescue.
- August 21
- August 23 – Osama bin Laden writes "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places," a call for the removal of American military forces from Saudi Arabia.
- August 28 – Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are formally divorced at the High Court of Justice in London. Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales is restyled Diana, Princess of Wales, due to the Queen's letters patent issued a week earlier.
- August 29
- August 31 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi forces launch an offensive into the northern No-Fly Zone and capture Arbil.
- January 1
- January 2 – Xiaoyu Yu, Chinese figure skater
- January 3 – Florence Pugh, English actress
- January 5
- January 6
- January 7
- January 9 – Oana Gregory, Romanian American actress
- January 10 – Anna Sztankovics, Hungarian swimmer
- January 11 – Leroy Sané, German footballer
- January 12 – Ella Henderson, English singer
- January 13 – Aníta Hinriksdóttir, Icelandic middle-distance runner
- January 15 – Dove Cameron, American actress and singer
- January 16
- January 17
- January 18 – Sarah Gilman, American actress
- January 21 – Marco Asensio, Spanish footballer
- January 22
- January 23
- January 24 – Patrik Schick, Czech footballer
- January 26 – Zakaria Bakkali, Belgian footballer
- January 27 – Braeden Lemasters, American actor, musician, and voice actor
- January 31 – Joel Courtney, American actor
- March 1
- March 4
- March 5 – Emmanuel Mudiay, Congolese professional basketball player
- March 6
- March 8
- March 9 – Giorgio Minisini, Italian synchronized swimmer
- March 14 – Janai Haupapa, Canadian rugby league player
- March 15 – Levin Öztunal?, German footballer
- March 16 – Anna Ovcharova, Russian/Swiss figure skater
- March 18 – Madeline Carroll, American actress
- March 19 – Feodosiy Efremenkov, Russian figure skater
- March 22 – Gig Morton, Canadian actor
- March 23
- March 24
- March 25 – Dougal Howard, Australian rules footballer
- March 26 – Kathryn Bernardo, Filipina actress
- March 27 – Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Italian-American actress
- March 28
- March 29 – Wade Baldwin IV, American basketball player
- March 31 – Liza Koshy, American actress and television host
- April 2
- April 3 – Sarah Jeffery, American actress
- April 4 – Austin Mahone, American singer
- April 8 – Lorna Fitzgerald, English actress
- April 9 – Giovani Lo Celso, Argentinian footballer
- April 10
- April 11 – Dele Alli, English footballer
- April 12 – Polina Korobeynikova, Russian figure skater
- April 14 – Abigail Breslin, American actress
- April 16 – Anya Taylor-Joy, American actress
- April 17 – Dee Dee Davis, American actress
- April 18 – Ski Mask the Slump God, American rapper
- April 21 – Tavi Gevinson, American fashion blogger
- April 22 – Wendy Sulca, Peruvian singer
- April 23
- April 24 – Ashleigh Barty, Australian tennis player
- April 25
- April 28 – Tony Revolori, American actor
- April 29
- May 2 – Julian Brandt, German footballer
- May 3
- May 4
- May 5 – Matheus Pereira, Brazilian footballer
- May 8 – 6ix9ine, American rapper
- May 9 – Noah Centineo, American actor
- May 10 – Tyus Jones, American basketball player
- May 11 – Andrés Cubas, Argentinian footballer
- May 14
- May 15 – Birdy, English singer and songwriter
- May 17 – Ryan Ochoa, American actor and musician
- May 18 – Violett Beane, American actress
- May 19 – Lakshmi Menon, Indian film actress
- May 18 – Yuki Kadono, Japanese snowboarder
- May 23 – Katharina Althaus, German ski jumper
- May 26 – Luká? Haraslín, Slovak footballer
- May 30
- May 31 – Normani, American singer
- June 1 – Tom Holland, English actor
- June 3 – Han Tianyu, Chinese short track speed skater
- June 7 – Christian McCaffrey, American football player
- June 10
- June 11 – Hakeeb Adelakun, English footballer
- June 12 – Davinson Sánchez, Colombian footballer
- June 13
- June 15 – Aurora, Norwegian singer
- June 16 – Lily Zhang, American table tennis player
- June 17 – Godfred Donsah, Ghanese footballer
- June 18 – Alen Halilovi?, Croatian footballer
- June 19 – Larisa Iordache, Romanian artistic gymnast
- June 20
- June 22
- June 24 – Harris Dickinson, English actor, writer, and director
- June 27 – Lauren Jauregui, American singer
- June 28
- June 29 – Bart Ramselaar, Dutch footballer
- July 1 – Adelina Sotnikova, Russian figure skater
- July 2 – Beret, Spanish pop singer
- July 3
- July 4 – Harrison Osterfield, English actor and model
- July 5
- July 6 – Robert Naylor, Canadian actor and musician
- July 7 – Ivan Ljubic, Austrian footballer
- July 9 – Shanice Williams, American actress and singer
- July 10 – Moon Ga-young, South Korean actress
- July 11
- July 12 – Moussa Dembélé, French footballer
- July 14 – Frankie A. Rodriguez, American actor
- July 16
- July 18
- July 20
- July 22
- July 23
- July 30
- July 31 – Blake Michael, American actor
- September 1 – Zendaya, American actress and singer
- September 3 – Joy, South Korean singer and actress
- September 5
- September 6 – Lil Xan, American rapper
- September 9 – Jaïro Riedewald, Dutch footballer
- September 12 – Colin Ford, American actor
- September 13
- September 16 – Alexis Blin, French footballer
- September 17
- September 19 – Pia Mia, Guamanian singer-songwriter and model
- September 20 – Jerome Sinclair, English footballer
- September 22 – Anthoine Hubert, French racing driver (d. 2019)
- September 23
- September 25
- September 27 – Maxwel Cornet, French-Ivorian footballer
- September 28 – Michael Ronda, Mexican actor and singer
- November 1
- November 3 – Aria Wallace, American television and film actress
- November 4 – Michael Christian Martinez, Filipino figure skater
- November 7
- November 9
- November 11
- November 14 – Borna ?ori?, Croatian tennis player
- November 15 – Malik Jefferson, American football player
- November 16 – Brendan Murray, Irish singer
- November 17 – Ruth Jebet, Bahraini long-distance runner
- November 18
- November 19 – Liliána Szilágyi, Hungarian swimmer
- November 20 – Denis Zakaria, Swiss footballer
- November 22
- November 23
- November 26 – Louane Emera, French singer and actress
- November 27 – Andy Truong, Australian fashion designer
- November 29 – Gonçalo Guedes, Portuguese footballer
- December 4
- December 6 – Stefanie Scott, American actress and singer
- December 8 – Scott McTominay, Scottish footballer
- December 9 – ViVi, Hong Kong singer
- December 10
- December 11
- December 12 – Lucas Hedges, American actor
- December 14 – Li Zijun, Chinese figure skater
- December 15 – Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukrainian footballer
- December 16
- December 17 – Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Russian figure skater
- December 19 – Franck Kessié, Ivorian footballer
- December 21 – Kaitlyn Dever, American actress
- December 28 – Alfred Kipketer, Kenyan middle-distance runner
- December 29
- February 2 - Gene Kelly, American actor and dancer (b. 1912)
- February 3 - Audrey Meadows, American actress (b. 1922)
- February 4 - Alfredo Nobre da Costa, 106th Prime Minister of Portugal (b. 1923)
- February 6 - Guy Madison, American actor (b. 1922)
- February 7 - Boris Tchaikovsky, Russian composer (b. 1925)
- February 9 - Adolf Galland, German general (b. 1912)
- February 11 - Kebby Musokotwane, Prime Minister of Zambia (b. 1946)
- February 12
- February 13 - Martin Balsam, American actor (b. 1919)
- February 14
- February 15
- February 16
- February 20
- February 21 - Morton Gould, American musician and composer (b. 1913)
- February 23
- February 25 - Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian activist and actor (b. 1940)
- February 26 - Mieczys?aw Weinberg, Polish composer (b. 1919)
- February 27 - Sarah Palfrey Cooke, American tennis player (b. 1912)
- March 2 - Lyle Talbot, American actor (b. 1902)
- March 3 - Marguerite Duras, French author and director (b. 1914)
- March 4 - Minnie Pearl, American comedian (b. 1912)
- March 5
- March 6 - Simon Cadell, English actor (b. 1950)
- March 9 - George Burns, American comedian and actor (b. 1896)
- March 10 - Ross Hunter, American film producer (b. 1926)
- March 11 - Vince Edwards, American actor (b. 1928)
- March 12 - Gyula Kállai, 48th Prime Minister of Hungary (b. 1910)
- March 13 - Krzysztof Kie?lowski, Polish film director (b. 1941)
- March 17 - René Clément, French film director (b. 1913)
- March 18 - Odysseas Elytis, Greek writer (b. 1911)
- March 19
- March 25 - Lola Beltrán, Mexican singer, actress, and television presenter (b. 1932)
- March 26
- March 31 - Jeffrey Lee Pierce, American musician (b. 1958)
- April 3 - Ron Brown, American politician (b. 1941)
- April 4 - Barney Ewell, American athlete (b. 1918)
- April 6
- April 8 - Ben Johnson, American actor and stuntman (b. 1918)
- April 13 - James Burke, Irish-American gangster (b. 1931)
- April 16 - Lucille Bremer, American actress and dancer (b. 1917)
- April 18 - Bernard Edwards, American bass player (b. 1952)
- April 20 - Christopher Robin Milne, English author and bookseller (b. 1920)
- April 21 - Dzhokhar Dudayev, Chechen politician and President of Ichkeria (b. 1944)
- April 22 - Erma Bombeck, American humorist and writer (b. 1927)
- April 23 - P. L. Travers, British actress, journalist, novelist and writer (b. 1899)
- April 25 - Saul Bass, American graphic designer (b. 1920)
- April 26 - Stirling Silliphant, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1918)
- April 28 - Siti Hartinah, 2nd First Lady of Indonesia, wife of Suharto (b. 1923)
- May 1 – David M. Kennedy, American politician, businessman (b. 1905)
- May 2 – Emile Habibi, Palestinian Israeli writer (b. 1922)
- May 3 – Jack Weston, American actor (b. 1924)
- May 6 – Leo Joseph Suenens, Belgian cardinal (b. 1904)
- May 11
- May 17 – Johnny "Guitar" Watson, American singer, songwriter and musician (b. 1935)
- May 19 – John Beradino, American baseball player and actor (b. 1917)
- May 20 – Jon Pertwee, British actor (b. 1919)
- May 23 – Sim Iness, American Olympic athlete (b. 1930)
- May 24
- May 25 – Bradley Nowell, American musician (b. 1968)
- May 29 – Tamara Toumanova, Russian-American dancer and actress (b. 1919)
- May 31 – Timothy Leary, American writer and social activist (b. 1920)
- July 1 – Margaux Hemingway, American fashion model and actress (b. 1954)
- July 3 – Raaj Kumar, Indian film actor (b. 1926)
- July 9
- July 13 – Pandro S. Berman, American film producer (b. 1905)
- July 15 – Dana Hill, American actress (b. 1964)
- July 17
- July 20 – Franti?ek Pláni?ka, Czech footballer (b. 1904)
- July 21
- July 22 – Jessica Mitford, British-American author, journalist and political campaigner (b. 1917)
- July 23 – Jean Muir, American actress (b. 1911)
- July 27 – Jane Drew, English architect (b. 1911)
- July 28 – Roger Tory Peterson, American naturalist and artist (b. 1908)
- July 30 – Claudette Colbert, French-born American Academy Award-winning actress (b. 1903)
- September 1
- September 7 – Bibi Besch, American actress (b. 1940)
- September 9
- September 10 – Joanne Dru, American actress (b. 1922)
- September 12
- September 13 – Tupac Shakur, American rapper (b. 1971)
- September 14 – Juliet Prowse, American dancer and actress (b. 1936)
- September 16
- September 17 – Spiro Agnew, American politician (b. 1918)
- September 18 – Annabella, French actress (b. 1907)
- September 20
- September 21 – Henri Nouwen, Dutch priest and author (b. 1932)
- September 22
- September 23 – Fujiko Fujio, Japanese cartoonist (b. 1933)
- September 24
- September 26
- September 27 – Mohammad Najibullah, President of Afghanistan (b. 1947)
- September 29 – Sh?saku End?, Japanese author (b. 1923)
- September 30 – Moneta Sleet Jr., American press photographer (b. 1926)
- October 4 – Silvio Piola, Italian footballer (b. 1913)
- October 5 – Seymour Cray, American computer scientist (b. 1925)
- October 11
- October 12
- October 13 – Beryl Reid, British actress (b. 1919)
- October 14 – Laura La Plante, American actress (b. 1904)
- October 15 – Robert F. Williams, American civil rights leader, author (b. 1925)
- October 16 – Jason Bernard, American actor (b. 1938)
- October 24 – Artur Axmann, German Nazi leader (b. 1913)
- October 28 – Morey Amsterdam, American comedian (b. 1908)
- October 31 – Marcel Carné, French film director (b. 1909)
- November 1 – J. R. Jayewardene, 2nd President of Sri Lanka (b. 1906)
- November 2 – Eva Cassidy, American vocalist (b. 1963)
- November 3
- November 5 – Eddie Harris, American jazz musician (b. 1934)
- November 6 – Tommy Lawton, English footballer and manager (b. 1919)
- November 14
- November 15 – Alger Hiss, American diplomat (b. 1904)
- November 18 – Zinovy Gerdt, Russian actor (b. 1916)
- November 21 – Abdus Salam, Pakistani Nobel physicist (b. 1926)
- November 22
- November 26 – Paul Rand, American graphic designer (b. 1914)
- November 27 – Gertrude Blanch, American mathematician (b. 1897)
- November 28 – Don McNeill, American tennis player (b. 1918)
- November 30 – Tiny Tim, American musician (b. 1932)
- December 3 - Babrak Karmal, President of Afghanistan (b. 1929)
- December 6 - Pete Rozelle, American football official (b. 1926)
- December 7 - José Donoso, Chilean writer (b. 1924)
- December 8 - Howard Rollins, American actor (b. 1950)
- December 9 - Mary Leakey, British archaeologist (b. 1913)
- December 10 - Faron Young, American singer (b. 1932)
- December 11 - Willie Rushton, English comedian, actor and cartoonist (b. 1937)
- December 13 - Cao Yu, Chinese playwright (b. 1910)
- December 16
- December 17 - Stanko Todorov, Bulgarian communist politician (b. 1920)
- December 18 - Irving Caesar, American lyricist (b. 1895)
- December 19 - Marcello Mastroianni, Italian actor (b. 1924)
- December 20
- December 21 - Margret Rey, American author and illustrator (b. 1906)
- December 30
Right Livelihood Award