In April, we are focusing on philanthropy—a topic that goes to the heart of the Right Livelihood Award.
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation is a Swedish charity financed primarily by individual donors. The first one was Jakob von Uexkull, when he set up the prize in 1980. He had asked himself what was needed to best support change-makers in their work. His answer was: publicity and protection.
Nearly 40 years on, that answer is still valid. At the same time, as governments around the world tighten their belts, philanthropic giving is today even more important. Moreover, in our increasingly interconnected world, it is extremely important for charitable organisations to be global both in their thinking and in their funding scope.
The Right Livelihood Award laureates are proof of such inclusive worldview. For example, one of the 2013 award recipients was Swiss entomologist Hans Herren, for his work on sustainable agriculture. He was nominated by another Laureate, Vandana Shiva from India, who has worked for food sovereignty and for farmers’ rights to their seeds. Through her work, and the work of Argentinian Laureate Raúl Montenegro, we have become more and more aware of the effects and activities of western agrochemical companies.
This is just one example of the amazing potential of our network of 166 Right Livelihood Award Laureates in 68 countries of the world. Several Laureates have also established their own organisations or charitable foundations focusing on issues as diverse as healthcare, human rights, inclusive education or environmental protection. Some of them will be featured on our website and social media in the month ahead.
German priest Martin Luther once said “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” This is the idea behind the German Das Prinzip Apfelbaum Initiative, which the Right Livelihood Award is a part of.
And as we watch the apple trees in the garden of our Right Livelihood House in Stockholm get ready to blossom, we also remember the generous donor whose bequest made the purchase of our Foundation headquarters possible.
In this season of renewal and regeneration, we would like to thank all those who support the Right Livelihood Award and the work of our Laureates. Each of us can give hope and ensure a lasting legacy by making it your award.