Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be the next president of the jury for the prize, worth 1 million euros, awarded annually by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
This is the first position accepted by Merkel since she ceased her duties as chancellor in December 2021.
Founded by the Armenian oil magnate and art collector Calouste Gulbenkian in Portugal in 1956, the foundation aims to improve people’s quality of life through art, charity, science and education.
Angela Merkel succeeds Jorge Sampaio, who has been president of the jury since its first edition. The jury also includes Miguel Bastos Araújo (Research Professor at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, in Madrid and Professor of Biogeography at the University of Évora, Pessoa Prize 2018), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Founder and Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Research on the Impact Climate Specialist and Professor Emeritus at Tsinghua University in China), Johan Rockström (Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Researchand Professor of Earth System Sciences at the University of Potsdam), Miguel Arias Cañete (former European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action), Rik Leemans (Director of the Environmental Systems Analysis Group, University of Wageningen and Wageningen and editor-in-chief of the journal international Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability ), Runa Khan (Founder and Executive Director of the NGO Friendship and President of Global Dignity Bangladesh), Sandra Díaz (Biologist, Professor of Ecology at the National University of Córdoba and member of the Royal Society) and Sunita Narain (Director of the Center for Science and Environment in Delhi and Editor of Down To Earth Magazine).
The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity was established by the Foundation with the aim of distinguishing people, groups or organizations from all over the world that have been outstanding in the fight against the climate crisis.
Among the potential areas of recognition for the Award are those that can contribute to reducing or removing greenhouse gas emissions; actions to increase the resilience of people and the environment to the impacts of climate change; and also the mobilization of financial resources, public or private, to accelerate the decarbonization of the economy.
The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity was awarded for the first time, in 2020 , to the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg , who decided to distribute the amount to various environmental and humanitarian projects in the Global South.
Last year, the Prize was awarded to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy – the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, comprising over 10,600 cities and local governments from 140 countries, including Portugal. The amount of the Gulbenkian Prize was used to support the Energy Transition and climate resilience in Africa, with large projects being financed in five cities in Senegal (supply of drinking water) and in one city in Cameroon (development of energy efficiency solutions) .