Teen Environmental Activist Greta Thunberg Receives Inaugural Gulbenkian Prize


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”.

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Greta Thunberg said: “I’m extremely honored to receive the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity. We’re in a climate emergency, and my foundation will as quickly as possible  donate all the prize money of 1 million Euros to support organizations and projects that are fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate and ecological crisis — particularly those living in the Global South.”

The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, named after Armenian businessman, art collector and philanthropist Galouste Gulbenkian, is awarded annually, in the amount of 1 million euros, It aims to recognize people, groups of people and/or organizations from all over the world whose contributions to mitigation and adaptation to climate change stand out for its novelty, innovation and impact.


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