Melinda Gates, Co-founder and Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been voted the winner of the Chatham House Prize 2014.

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

Members of The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, have selected Melinda Gates 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.

The Prize is awarded annually to the person deemed by members of The Royal Institute of International Affairs to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year. Previous winners of the award include Secretary Hillary Clinton, Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Lula of Brazil.

Melinda Gates will be presented with a crystal award and a scroll, signed by Her Majesty The Queen, Patron of the institute, at a ceremony in London in autumn 2014.

Dr Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, said: ‘I warmly congratulate Melinda Gates on being voted the winner of this year’s Chatham House Prize. She has worked tirelessly for over 20 years to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people and to alleviate the extreme poverty in which they live. Melinda Gates has made a real difference to the lives of countless numbers of people and I am very pleased we are able to recognize her work in this way”.

Melinda Gates said “I am honoured to have been voted as the winner of this year’s Chatham House Prize and to join the distinguished list of previous recipients. Chatham House is a world-leading policy institute that seeks to understand and improve some of the world’s most intractable problems and I am grateful to its members for their choice. Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, we remain committed to lifting the burden of poverty, hunger and disease for the world’s poorest”.

Editor's notes: 

About the Chatham House Prize

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 process to select the nominees of the Prize draws on the recommendations of the institute's research teams and the advice of its three Presidents - Lord Paddy Ashdown, Sir John Major, and Baroness Patricia Scotland. Chatham House members then vote for the winner in a secret ballot. The winner is presented with a crystal award and a scroll signed by the institute's Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.

Other 2014 nominees:

Baroness Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Arab League and UN Special Representative for Syria were nominated jointly for their efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.

Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile was nominated for her leadership in advancing global gender equality, in her role as the first executive director and under-secretary-general of UN Women.