Athens, Ga. – Delta Air Lines and the University of Georgia presented the 2009 Delta Prize for Global Understanding to Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency-during a ceremony Wednesday evening, March 18-for his dedication, leadership, and diplomacy in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
“Once again the Delta Prize board has selected a recipient whose work is not only important, but timely,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “Mohamed ElBaradei’s role as head of the IAEA is crucial as the world grapples with the issues of nuclear proliferation and the availability of nuclear materials. The University of Georgia is proud to play a role in recognizing his contribution to peace and understanding around the world.”
Established in 1997 with an $890,000 endowment grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, the Delta Prize is administered by UGA. The prize consists of a sculpture, a $10,000 cash award, and a $50,000 travel allowance from Delta for a non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice. ElBaradei is donating the travel allowance to Save the Children, an independent organization that creates lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. The organization helps children and families help themselves.
In accepting the award, ElBaradei said, “I am greatly honored to receive the 2009 Delta Prize for Global Understanding. I welcome the recognition, which this prize represents, of the work which I and my colleagues at the IAEA are doing to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, advocate nuclear disarmament, and ensure that the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology are made available to all.
“At a time of global insecurity and inequity, it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to create a saner, safer, and more humane world for our children. I am convinced that the enormous challenges facing the world can be met if we never lose sight of the core values that unite all human beings and recognize the need for dialogue, tolerance and social solidarity.
“I compliment Delta Air Lines and the University of Georgia for creating the Delta Prize in support of these values. I am pleased that the prize includes a generous travel allowance from Delta for a non-profit organization of my choice, as I believe international travel is key to building human understanding and solidarity.”
The Delta Prize honors ElBaradei for his advocacy of a worldwide moratorium on nuclear weapons and his promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear power. The prize also honors him for his lifetime commitment to global cooperation as a means to achieve international peace and security.
“Delta established the Delta Prize for Global Understanding in coordination with the University of Georgia to recognize leaders or groups who, by their own initiative, promote cooperation and understanding between nations and cultures,” said Ed Bastian, president of Delta Air Lines. “As the world’s largest airline, we understand that in order to flourish in all cultures and with all people, we must play a role in facilitating cultural understanding. Dr. ElBaradei’s career is the definition of cooperation and understanding based on a foundation of foreign service and a commitment to using nuclear energy in the safest ways possible.”
Gary Bertsch, director of UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security, and Betty Jean Craige, director of the university’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, hosted the ceremony Wednesday at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel in Athens. The two co-founded the Delta Prize.
ElBaradei is the tenth recipient of the Delta Prize. Previous recipients include former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela; Ted Turner, founder of Cable News Network (CNN); Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, president of the Pan-African Parliament; former president of the Czech Republic Václav Havel; former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata; former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev; Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; and former president of the U.S. Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn, and The Carter Center.
Nominees for the Delta Prize are solicited from around the world. Selected UGA students research the work of the nominees and prepare information for the Delta Prize board, which meets annually to choose the recipient.
For more information on the Delta Prize, see http://uga.edu/news/deltaprize/.