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30th Right Livelihood Awards: Wake-up calls to secure our common future

October 13, 2009

The 2009 Right Livelihood Awards go to four recipients:

The Honorary Award goes to David Suzuki (Canada) "for his lifetime advocacy of the socially responsible use of science, and for his massive contribution to raising awareness about the perils of climate change and building public support for policies to address it".

Three recipients receive cash awards of EUR 50,000 each:

René Ngongo (Democratic Republic of Congo) is honoured "for his courage in confronting the forces that are destroying the Congo's rainforests and building political support for their conservation and sustainable use".

Alyn Ware (New Zealand) is recognised "for his effective and creative advocacy and initiatives over two decades to further peace education and to rid the world of nuclear weapons".

Catherine Hamlin (Ethiopia) is awarded "for her fifty years dedicated to treating obstetric fistula patients, thereby restoring the health, hope and dignity of thousands of Africa's poorest women".


The Right Livelihood Award Jury gave the following motivation for its choice of Laureates:

"Despite the scientific warnings about the imminent threat and disastrous impacts of climate change and despite our knowledge about solutions, the global response to this crisis is still painfully slow and largely inadequate. At the same time, the threat from nuclear weapons has by no means diminished, and the treatable diseases of poverty shame our common humanity. The 2009 Right Livelihood Award Recipients demonstrate concretely what has to be done in order to tackle climate change, rid the world of nuclear weapons, and provide crucial medical treatment to the poor and marginalised."


Founded in 1980 the Right Livelihood Awards are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are often referred to as 'Alternative Nobel Prizes'. They were introduced "to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today".

Jakob von Uexkull, a Swedish-German professional philatelist, sold his business to provide the original funding. Since then, the Award has been supported by individual donors.

82 candidates from 46 countries were proposed for the Right Livelihood Awards this year, whereof 36 come from industrialized and 46 from "developing" countries.
Interview Partners

At the press conference:

* Marianne Andersson, Member of the Board and Jury of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation
* Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation
* Sven Bergström, Member of the Swedish Parliament, Chairman of the Society for the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament (SÄRLA)

* Ewa Thalén Finné, Member of Parliament and of the Board of the Swedish Foundation for the Fistula Hospital (Stiftelsen Fistulasjukhuset)
* Eva Selin Lindgren, Professor of Environmental Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, Member of Parliament and SÄRLA, and expert on nuclear weapons and energy.

Telephone interviews on October 13:

* David Suzuki (Vancouver): +1 604 730-9670 or +1 778 991-6380 (mobile)
* René Ngongo (DRC): +243 9983 34500
* Alyn Ware (New York City, attending PNND Assembly): +1-646-289-5170 or +1 646 752-8702 (mobile)
* On Oct 13th, Catherine Hamlin will be on a flight to Australia. You can either contact Marc Bennett, CEO of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, Ethiopia, on +251 91 888 923 for further information on the Fistula Hospital; or you can contact Dr. Hamlin in Australia via James Grainger, Hamlin Fistula, Sydney, Australia on +61 411 253 985
* Jakob von Uexkull (London): +44 20 7321 3810
* Ole von Uexkull (Sweden, afternoon): +46 8 70 20 337

TV Footage

Footage clips (high resolution) on David Suzuki and René Ngongo are available for free:

Download (provided by via

* René Ngongo:
* David Suzuki:

or contact the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Important Dates

Award Ceremony and press conference with the 2009 laureates - ATTENTION: Dates changed!
A press conference with the 2009 recipients will be held at the International Press Centre at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm on Thursday, December 3th at 9:30 am.
The Award Ceremony in the Swedish Parliament will be held on Friday, December 4th at 6 pm.

30th Anniversary Conference next year
On the invitation of the City of Bonn and thanks to the support by Bonn-based foundations, The Right Livelihood Award Foundation will hold its 30th Anniversary Conference in Bonn, Germany, from September 14-19th, 2010.

Further information, the Foundation's logo and photos of the recipients (incl. high resolution) can be downloaded from

For more information contact:
Birgit Jaeckel
Press Consultant
Right Livelihood Awards
Phone: 46-8-702 03 39
Cell: 49-170-24 49 348

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