LISBON — The first Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity has been awarded to Greta Thunberg, the Gulbenkian Foundation announced on July 20. The young Swedish environmental activist was selected from among 136 nominees from 46 countries.
Thunberg’s foundation will donate the award money of 1 million euros to charitable projects combating the climate and ecological crisis and to support people facing the worst impacts, particularly in the Global South. Starting with giving 100,000 euros to the SOS Amazonia campaign, led by Fridays For Future Brazil to tackle Covid-19 in the Amazon, and 100,000 eruos to the Stop Ecocide Foundation to support their work to make ecocide an international crime.
Jorge Sampaio, Chair of the Grand Jury of the Prize, emphasized the broad consensus of this choice and pointed out “the way Greta Thunberg has been able to mobilize younger generations for the cause of climate change and her tenacious struggle to alter a status quo that persists, makes her one of the most remarkable figures of our days.”
Sampaio has also stressed Thunberg’s enormous responsibility in consolidating her role and leadership in the fight against climate change, as a condition for sustainable development, towards which the attribution of this Prize aims to contribute.
The Grand Jury, composed of internationally renowned personalities from the fields of science, technology, politics and culture, highlighted Thunberg’s charismatic and inspiring personality, but also the force of her singular and distressing message capable of arousing disparate feelings, and her capacity to make a difference in the fight against climate change.
The President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Isabel Mota, emphasized that “By awarding this Prize, the Foundation highlights its commitment to urgent climate action, fostering communities that are more resilient and better prepared for future global changes, while also protecting, in particular, the most vulnerable”.