An energetic 79 year-old Ono handed the award, a glass puzzle-piece, to the singer who sported a fittingly unusual witch’s hat for the ceremony.
Ono told guests in Reyjavik that she awarded the prize because Lady Gaga “is in a position of number one as singer songwriter. And when you are number one you don’t want to risk yourself. And she did.”
The award was given last month to the band Pussy Riot, a Russian pop band that was arrested for having a “punk prayer” inside of a Moscow cathedral.
Lady Gaga was thrilled about the award and she tweeted later on: “Today was happiest day I’ve ever had.”
She dedicated her award to “youth empowerment around the world” and vowed to continue her effort to “communicate compassionately to the world and its leaders.”
The award carried with it a cash prize that she promised to donate in full to the Elton John AIDS foundation.