A panel of highly distinguished international figures come together to form the Jury for the Equator Prize 2008. The jury represented a comprehensive body of expertise and experience in environmental and sustainable development issues from around the world. They selected the five communities who will receive special recognition from the 25 winners chosen by the Technical Advisory Committee. Following are the jury members biographies:
Dr. Gro Brundtland
Special Envoy, United Nations
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland currently services as Special Envoy on Climate Change for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Prior to joining the UN, Dr. Brundtland was the youngest person, at age 41, and the first woman ever to be elected Prime Minister of Norway. Educated as a physician at the University of Oslo, and a Master of Public Health from Harvard, the former Prime Minister is recognized as a leader in sustainable development and public health.
Throughout her political career, Dr. Brundtland has developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983, United Nations Secretary-General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, invited her to establish and chair the World Commission on Environment and Development. The Commission is best known for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development. The Commission’s recommendations led to the Earth Summit -- the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Later in 1993, Dr. Brundtland went on to serve as the Director General of the World Health Organization till 2003. There she focused on promoting sustainable and equitable health systems in all countries". Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of the highest-level women leaders who act for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.
Prof. Calestous Juma
Professor Calestous Juma is Director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Research Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Chancellor of the University of Guyana.
Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Professor Juma is also former Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, which he founded in 1988, a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde (UK), a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences
In addition to serving on the governing and advisory bodies of several international organizations, Professor Juma has won numerous awards for his dedication to technology and environmental policy, including the 1991 Pew Scholars Award in Conservation and the Environment and the 1993 United Nations Global 500 Award. Professor Juma holds a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy Studies from the University of Sussex, UK.
Steven J. McCormick
Before assuming presidency at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Steven McCormick served as the president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy from 2001 to 2007. During his tenure, he brought the Nature Conservancy to a truly global presence and oversaw a budget over $500 million. Prior to his role as president and CEO of TNC, Steve was a partner at Resources Law Group from 2000 to 2001, a firm based in Sacramento, which provides transactional and consulting services in land-use and natural resources law and policy, and creates innovative opportunities for conservation philanthropy.
Steve has a B.S. Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Berkeley (1973), where he graduated with honors, and a J.D. Degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law (1976). He also attended the Stanford Executive Program in 1993.
Appointed by former Brazilian President Lula in his first term, Marina Silva served as environmental minister from 2003 to 2009. During her tenure, Marina created legislation to protect and preserve Amazon rainforests and campaigned against deforestation. She improved the lives of indigenous people through rubber-tapping and other ecologically sound practices.
In 1996, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for South & Central America. In 2007, the United Nations Environment Program named her one of the Champions of the Earth. Marina is also the winner for the 2009 Sophie Prize. She received her teaching degree in history from Federal University of Acre in 1984 and served as school teacher and lecturer in Federal University of Acre from 1985 to 1987.
Professor M.S. Swaminathan
Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)
TIME Magazine acclaimed Professor Swaminathan as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century. He has been a world leader in sustainable development for more than 45 years and has been described by the United Nations Environment Program as "the Father of Economic Ecology." Dr. Swaminathan served as Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1972-78) and of the International Rice Research Institute (1982-88). He has also served as Independent Chairman of the FAO Council (1981-85) and as the President of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (1984-1990).
For his work in crop genetics and sustainable agricultural development in India and other developing nations, he was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987, the Tyler and Honda Prizes in 1991, and the UNEP Sasakawa Award in 1994. He is a former president of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India, is a member of the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy, and the Italian and Chinese Academies.
H.R.H. Princess Basma Bint Talal, D.Phil
Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development
Princess Basma plays an active advocacy role through various forums such as the United Nations, contributing to global strategies on health, education, population, the environment, and the advancement of women. Her Royal Highness is particularly involved with supporting the implementation of sustainable development programmes that address the social and economic needs of marginalized groups.
In 1977, Princess Basma established the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, Jordan’s largest and oldest non-profit, non-governmental organization, which has been empowering whole communities through an integrated grassroots approach that promotes equitable, rights-based sustainable human development. Princess Basma’s role as an advocate for women’s rights is well recognized in Jordan and the Arab region as supporting women’s rights, increasing their political profile, and changing societal perceptions of the role of women, which has remained a central part of Her Royal Highness’s activities over the past several decades.
On the international level, Princess Basma is Honorary Human Development Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), as well as Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Her Royal Highness also serves as a member of the Council of the United Nations University for Peace and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, jointly established by the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, and Durham.
Executive Director, Tebtebba Foundation
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz serves as the Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and as the Executive Director of the Tebtebba Foundation in the Philippines. Since 1993, she has been a Co-Chair of the Indigenous Caucus of the UN
Commission of Sustainable Development NGO Steering Committee and is also a Board Member of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) and the Vice President of the International Training Center of Indigenous Peoples (ITCIP). For many years, she has been the voice of indigenous people around the world and has sought to bring all of them together in policy-making and global advocacy.
Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III
UN Foundation Chairman
Ted Turner is the Chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc. and former Vice Chairman of Time Warner Inc., the world's leading media company. He is the founder of CNN, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist.
In September 1997, Turner announced his historic pledge of $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation (UNF). The organization supports the goals and objectives of the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. UNF has identified four core priorities: women and population; children's health; the environment; and peace and security. He has said that his gift is an "investment in the future of humanity."
Mr. Turner is the Chairman of the Turner Foundation, Inc. founded in 1990, which supports efforts for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect our climate, safeguarding environmental health, maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population growth rates. One example, The Turner Endangered Species Fund, is a core grantee of the Turner Foundation, which works to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing restoration efforts of endangered or imperiled species on the Turner properties.
In early 2001, Turner launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a foundation he co-chairs with former Senator Sam Nunn. NTI is working to close the growing and increasingly dangerous gap between the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the global response. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including being named Time magazine’s 1991 Man of the Year and Broadcasting and Cable’s Man of the Century in 1999.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus
Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement, is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. He attended Vanderbilt University on a Fulbright Scholarship and received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969. He taught briefly in the US before returning to Bangladesh, where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University.
In 1974, Dr. Yunus pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. This concept proved successful and was adopted by the Bangladeshi government in 1980. In 1978, Yunus received the President's award for Tebhaga Khamar (a system of cooperative three-share farming, which the Bangladeshi government adopted as the Packaged Input Program in 1977). Dr. Yunus is also noted for the creation of "micro-credit," which provides "micro" loans to the poor and serves as a catalyst for improving their socio-economic conditions.