Paul Polman

Paul Polman Joins Aurora Prize Selection Committee


LONDON/YEREVAN — The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has confirmed the appointment of Paul Polman, Co-Founder and Chair of IMAGINE and former CEO of Unilever, to the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. The distinguished business leader and philanthropist will join the group of humanitarians, activists and former heads of state chaired by Lord Ara Darzi.

“I’m delighted to welcome Paul Polman to the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. Paul is an accomplished and respected businessman and philanthropist, who has worked tirelessly to make the private sector more sustainable and responsible, and his input will be highly appreciated by the members of the Selection Committee. Choosing the Aurora Humanitarians and Laureate among so many worthy candidates is an honor and a privilege, but also a huge responsibility, so I’m glad that we will now have Paul’s expertise to help us make the final decision,” said Lord Ara Darzi, director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London and chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee.

Polman is co-founder of IMAGINE, a new organization which mobilizes business leaders around tackling climate change and global inequality. He is chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, the B Team, Saïd Business School, the Valuable 500 and vice-chair of the UN Global Compact. A leading proponent of the idea that business should be a force for good, he has been described by the Financial Times as “a standout CEO of the past decade.”

As CEO of Unilever (2009-2018), he demonstrated that a long-term, multi-stakeholder model goes hand-in-hand with excellent financial performance. Polman was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel which developed the Sustainable Development Goals, and as an active SDG Advocate, he continues to work with global organizations and across industry to push the 2030 development agenda.

“It’s a great honor to be invited to join the Aurora Prize Selection Committee and I am very much looking forward to contributing to this impressive initiative. Today, humanity is facing many challenges – runaway climate change, biodiversity loss and gross inequality – which can only be overcome by working together in deep and purposeful collaboration. The Aurora Prize brings together a fantastic community of driven humanitarians, and I’m happy to be part of this movement, which aspires to make our planet a better place for generations to come,” said Paul Polman.

The Aurora Prize Selection Committee includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former foreign minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; Médecins Sans Frontières co-founder and former foreign minister of France Bernard Kouchner; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power; human rights activist and Founding Director of Enough Project John Prendergast; Artistic and General Director of Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker Valery Gergiev; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian. World famous peace and human rights activist Benjamin Ferencz and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney are the Committee’s honorary co-chairs.

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Since the Aurora Prize launch in 2015, more than 2,800 nominations for the award have been submitted from over 125 countries, putting forward more than 1,500 unique candidates; fourteen Aurora Humanitarians have been selected. On January 28, the Aurora Prize Selection Committee met in New York to deliberate on the names of the 2020 Aurora Humanitarians, who will be announced in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 24, 2020. The 2020 Aurora Prize Laureate will be named at the award ceremony later this year.


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