Below is the original nomination of Bono for the Fulbright Prize which will be awarded on March 31st in Washington, DC.
Please accept my nomination of Irish rock musician Bono for the 2021 Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. Like millions of other fans, I have followed the group U2, of which Bono is the lead singer, for the past 25 years. He is admired around the world as an artist, activist and humanitarian whose overall global impact may be even more impressive than his considerable resume in the music industry.
His international recognition includes an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, a Commandeur of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) and in 2005, Bono was named one of Time magazine’s Persons of the Year.
Early in his career, Bono decided to use his fame as a rock star as an instrument to help humanity. An early trip to Ethiopia helped solidify his path and set a solid foundation for many years as an advocate for poor and marginalized populations. Much of his work as a philanthropist and humanitarian have focused on Africa.
He co-founded of DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa), an organization seeking justice through debt relief and fair trade; EDUN, a fashion brand designed to promote trade by sourcing throughout Africa; the ONE Campaign; a global initiative focused on lobbying governments to help end extreme poverty by 2030; and Product RED, a licensed brand raising awareness and funds from the private sector to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight African nations.
The collective work of these organizations has made a significant impact throughout that continent and well beyond.
Musically, Bono and U2 have been a cross-cultural endeavor with international impact. U2’s music has reached all corners of the globe, bringing soulful melodies and powerful lyrics that force people to think about the world in which we live and the kind of future we hope to create. For instance, “Summer of Love” and “Red Flag Day,” two songs from U2’s newest album, Songs of Experience, Bono describes the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland.
He and U2 recently completed the last leg of the 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour in Mumbai, India. “So we come as students to the source of inspiration that is ‘Ahimsa’ – non-violence. Indians gave us this. It is the greatest gift to the world,” Bono said before the concert, a nod to peace that Sen. Fulbright surely would have admired.
Bono has had a personal impact on my life. He inspired me to volunteer in 2005 for a humanitarian effort in which a team of doctors and support personnel collaborated to provide medical care to more than 12,000 rural Zambians in a 15-day period. More recently, I have organized a soccer team and coach a group of African refugee boys who have resettled in our community in Abilene, Texas. I have been inspired, like many others, by the passion, commitment and leadership of Bono.
The totality of his work over the years – as a musician and activist – is impressive and deeply connects to the Fulbright mission of creating peace and understanding, promoting cultural respect, and working to creatively solve problems that enable humans to thrive. Like Sen. Fulbright, Bono has worked across the political spectrum to accomplish good and lasting things for a more peaceful world.
I am honored to nominate Paul David Hewson “Bono” as the next recipient of the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.
Dr. Jason Morris
Fulbright Scholar, Hungary 2009
Fulbright ETA, Hungary 2002