The nominees for the Chatham House Prize 2014 are:
Baroness Valerie Amos and Lakhdar Brahimi are nominated for their efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.
In the face of extremely complex conditions, Baroness Amos and Brahimi have been determined in their efforts to help the people of Syria and unite the international community behind strengthened diplomatic, security and humanitarian responses.
Brahimi has worked tirelessly to develop and coordinate international polices in order to end the conflict in Syria. He has worked skilfully as an international mediator to bring the parties together for peace talks. His push early in 2013 for follow-up on the previous year’s Geneva agreement led to the Geneva 2 talks, which remain the only framework for possible political and security agreements.
Baroness Amos has embodied and represented the determined and often dangerous work of the many UN agencies and other humanitarian groups committed to providing assistance on the ground to those in need. Her direct negotiations with the Syrian government helped realize an increase in the number of aid convoys entering Syria. Under her leadership, the combined funding received by the UN’s Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan reached 70 per cent of the 2013 appeal.
Both have used their roles to highlight vocally the continuing horrors of the conflict, the centrality of a political solution to end the violence and the dire need for an expanded international humanitarian response.
Michelle Bachelet is nominated for her leadership in advancing global gender equality.
As the first executive director and under-secretary-general of UN Women, Bachelet has been instrumental in making women’s rights a globally recognized issue.
The UN Women’s COMMIT initiative was established at the end of 2012 and, under her leadership, by the end of 2013 over 60 countries and the EU had committed themselves to end discrimination and violence against women. In March 2013, she led the way as the UN approved a global action plan for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. With her backing, over 500 chief executives and 11 countries signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles to build roadmaps for the empowerment of women in business.
Bachelet’s leadership had a demonstrable impact on the ground. She implemented UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative, which has worked to tackle sexual harassment in public spaces and helped increase women’s representation in elected positions.
In December 2013, Bachelet was elected President of Chile for the second time. She is the first woman to hold the office and the first person since 1932 to win the presidency of her country twice in competitive elections.
Melinda Gates is nominated for her philanthropic commitment to extend access to lifesaving medicine, quality education and modern contraceptives to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Gates has devoted the past 20 years of her life to taking on two of the main challenges in the developing world: poor health and extreme poverty. She was at the heart of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s strategic decision in 2013 to prioritize polio eradication. This led to the development of a strategic plan to finally eradicate polio by 2018, which has been endorsed by national health authorities, leading scientific experts, international organizations and donors.
Gates is the driving force behind the foundation’s empowerment of women in developing countries. In July 2012, Gates led the London Summit on Family Planning, with the goal of delivering contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. She has also vigorously promoted positive roles for technology in the developing world, in particular supporting mobile communications as a vehicle to improve security and enhance livelihoods.
Gates has received widespread praise for her strategic approach to philanthropy and her success in broadening the impact of the foundation.
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The annual Chatham House Prize is awarded to the person who is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
The selection process draws on the expertise of Chatham House's research teams and three presidents, who nominate candidates. Our members are then invited to vote for the winner in a ballot.
The winner is presented with a crystal award and a scroll signed by our patron, Her Majesty The Queen. The award is presented at a ceremony and dinner at a central London venue with keynote speeches by leading figures in international affairs. The recipient of the prize will also often address a members event at Chatham House on or around the day of the award.
The Chatham House Prize was conceived in 2004, under the directorship of Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas. The concept and crucial early support came from Raj Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust and a Chatham House council member. Together they supervised the first award in 2005, presented to Victor Yushchenko, and set the template that has ensured its ongoing success.