Melinda Gates is awarded the Chatham House Prize in recognition of her philanthropic commitment and humanitarian efforts and her tireless work to improve the health of women and children through increased access to family planning, simple newborn interventions, lifesaving vaccines and better nutrition.

Melinda Gates, Co-founder and Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationMelinda Gates, Co-founder and Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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.