July 23 2009

Save the World Award goes to SOS Children's Villages

23/07/2009 - On 24 July, SOS Children's Villages will receive the SAVE THE WORLD AWARD 2009 as part of an international television gala. SOS Children's Villages president Helmut Kutin will collect the award in person on behalf of the organisation. The major media event is to take place at the nuclear power plant at Zwentendorf near Vienna, the only nuclear power plant in the world which was built but then never put into operation.

The Save the World Awards are a global event - Photo: Save the World Awards

For the first time, the Save the World Awards are to be awarded to organisations and people who promote human welfare or devote themselves to the conservation of the planet. The Save the World Awards will be presented by the World Awards Association, which Mikhail Gorbachev co-founded in 2000. And it was the Nobel Peace Prize laureate himself who presented the Women's World Award to the 5,000 SOS mothers working across the globe in 2005, in recognition of their exceptional commitment to children. The award was collected by a representative mother from the German SOS Children's Village in Ammersee.


Photo: World Awards Media
And the Women's World Award 2005 goes to... 5,000 SOS mothers! - Photo: World Awards Media

The Save the World Award 2009 is set to be presented to the whole SOS Children's Villages organisation. SOS Children's Villages president Helmut Kutin, who is to accept the award on 24 July, said of the accolade: "I would like to thank you for acknowledging our decades of work in this way, particularly on behalf of all the children and young people, our staff members and on behalf of our friends and patrons. For SOS Children's Villages is supported first and foremost by civil society, which should reassure us that we are all collectively capable of looking out for each other and of standing up against violence, neglect, indifference and ostracism. This award drives us on, on the occasion of our 60th anniversary, to carry on building a society in which children are treated well and to create conditions which will enable children all over the world to have a safe and secure upbringing in a respectful and loving environment with others. Only those who have grown up in peace are capable of passing peace on to others."

The World Awards committee bases its decision for SOS Children's Villages to receive the award on the fact that SOS Children's Villages offers thousands of children who have lost their main carer a new home, allowing them to realise their dreams, goals and visions. The committee also highlights the fact that not only did Helmut Kutin take over Hermann Gmeiner's legacy, but also that he has reinforced SOS Children's Villages' position worldwide and has worked tirelessly for its expansion.

The Save the World Awards have no fixed categories. There is a focus on twelve topic areas which are each introduced by a prominent 'ambassador'. There is then one prize winner for each area. The twelve focus areas are: climate, hunger & poverty, water, tolerance, energy, peace & security, health, democracy and civil society, dignity, education, pollution and biodiversity.

Other award winners include Carl Lewis, whose Carl Lewis Foundation is being honoured for its commitment to helping children in need, and Greenpeace, whose climate project leader Thomas Henningsen will be accepting the Save the World Award in the name of the organisation for its dedication to protecting the climate. Jermaine Jackson will receive the coveted award in lieu of his sadly deceased brother Michael, who is being honoured posthumously.

The nuclear power plant at Zwentendorf is a significant choice of venue. It is the only nuclear power plant in the world which, despite its completion, was never put into operation following the outcome of a nationwide referendum. The power station, built 30 years ago, will for the first time play host to an event which attempts to be a symbol for the careful management of our natural resources and for commitment to our global society, justice and peace.

Countless international celebrities from the world of politics, economics, culture and society are expected to attend the gala, which will be covered by numerous television stations and, according to the organisers, will be broadcast in over 50 countries. The well-known actress Andie MacDowell will be hosting the event. Prior to the gala, a congress will take place at Grafenegg Castle covering sustainable development and the link between environmental degradation and mining, social inequality, the financial crisis and climate change.