The inaugural Gorbachev Awards were given out last night at a gala event in London, UK as part of celebrations to mark Gorbachev’s 80th birthday.
The awards, which seek to recognise and honour individuals for their achievements in changing the world, were given to World Wide Web inventor Dr Timothy Berners-Lee, media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner and 25-year-old Kenyan engineer Evans Wadongo.
GCI Founding President Gorbachev, who changed the world when he ended the Cold War and reunited East and West, personally selected the winners and presented their awards at the concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
“These three people have each, in their own way, changed the world for their fellow men and women in ways which affect all our lives,” said Gorbachev. “Each and every one possesses the ability to make a difference and the Gorbachev Awards have been established to those people who achieve this and to provide inspiration to all of us to try.”
The Awards were divided into three categories, reflecting the reforms Gorbachev made that changed the world, and to recognise people whose achievements have similarly changed the world:
PERESTROIKA: contribution to the development of global civilization: won by Dr Berners-Lee, aged 55, from the UK who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, completely changing the way the world stores and shares information
GLASNOST: contribution to the development of the culture of an open world: Ted Turner, aged 72, from USA, founder of CNN, which transformed the world’s media, and a philanthropist who gave $1bn to the United Nations. He also established the Goodwill Games
USKORENIE: contribution to the development of modern science and technology: Evans Wadongo, aged 25 from Kenya. He invented a solar powered LED lantern when he was 18 and has since distributed it to tens of thousands of Africans, replacing smoky, expensive wood fires with free, environmentally friendly and healthy light.
The winners received a commemorative award from Mr Gorbachev, created specially by Vertu, makers of luxury mobile phones and a sponsor of the Gorby 80 programme.
The Awards were part of the Gorby 80 gala concert, which brought together musicians, singers and artists from all over the world to honour the former leader of the Soviet Union. They included Katherine Jenkins, Bryan Ferry and Dame Shirley Bassey alongside Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra, Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky and classical pianist Andrey Gavrilov.
The concert also raised money for cancer charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support UK and the Raisa Gorbachev Children’s Institute for Transplantology and Haematology in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
Hosted by Hollywood stars Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey, the event also marked the unveiling of a new book written to celebrate Gorbachev’s 80th birthday and honor his lifelong commitment to sustainability. Green Cross International will publish “Mikhail Gorbachev: Prophet of Change”, which traces the evolution of his environmental vision. Due to be published by Clairview Books on 26 April, this special publication includes tributes from political contemporaries and partners in the environmental and peace movements, some of which were on hand at the gala including President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres and award winner Ted Turner.
Founded by Green Cross International, the Gorbachev Foundation, the Nobel Peace Laureates Forum and the New Policy Forum, the Mikhail Gorbachev Award “The Man Who Changed the World” will be awarded annually to individuals whose contribution to the development of global civilization, culture, social science and technology has changed the world we live in for the better. The location of the awards ceremony will change each year with the next ceremony planned for March 2012 in Germany.